Centre for Ethics and Humanism
Centrum voor Ethiek en Humanisme

Lecture: María Jimena Solé, ‘Spinoza in Germany: Metaphysics of Atheism and Unlimited Rationalism’

October 4th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Events | News

When: Monday 10 October 2016 – 11.00

Where: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussel, room D.3.04

Speaker: María Jimena Solé, CONICET / Universidad de Buenos Aires


The aim of this lecture is to present some observations on the conceptual background of the reception of Spinoza’s thought from 1670 and during the 18th century in Germany and to propose a new perspective on the interpretation of this process. I argue that, due to the fact that, for many reasons, Spinoza’s reception in Germany was to a great extent indirect, an image of spinozism resulted, that affected and controlled its reception along the studied period. The essential element of this image is the concept of atheism. According to my understanding, the characterization of spinozism as atheism covers two different problematic constellations. On the one hand, it refers to the incompatibility of Spinoza’s philosophy with theism and refers to the dangers that it represents for the religious, moral and political order based on the existence of a theistic God. The problem that underlies this fight against Spinoza is, therefore, the question on the metaphysical foundation necessary to support a determined order. On the other side, Spinoza is denounced as an atheist for his intention to rationally demonstrate the existence of God, for believing that human reason is capable of accessing truth without external aid or super natural illumination. This aspect of the Spinoza-reception overlaps with the discussion about the competence and the boundaries of human reason. These two problematic spheres represent, according to my reading, two parallel levels in which the reception of Spinoza is carried out in Germany.

No fee, but registration is required. Mail to: Emiliano.Acosta@vub.ac.be.