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Spinoza, Enlightenment, and Classical German Philosophy

Gardner, S; (2014) Spinoza, Enlightenment, and Classical German Philosophy. Diametros: internetowe czasopismo filozoficzne , 40 pp. 22-44. 10.13153/diam.40.2014.628. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper offers a critical discussion of Jonathan Israel’s thesis that the political and moral ideas and values which define liberal democratic modernity should be regarded as the legacy of the Radical Enlightenment and thus as deriving from Spinoza. What I take issue with is not Israel’s map of the actual historical lines of intellectual descent of ideas and account of their social and political impact, but the accompanying conceptual claim, that Spinozism as filtrated by the naturalistic wing of eighteenth-century French thought, is conceptually sufficient for the ideology of modernity. The post-Kantian idealist development, I argue, qualifies as radical, and hinges on Spinoza, but its construal of Spinoza does not fit Israel’s thesis, and reflects an appreciation of the limitations, for the purpose of creating a rational modernity, of the naturalistic standpoint represented by thinkers such as d’Holbach.

Type: Article
Title: Spinoza, Enlightenment, and Classical German Philosophy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.13153/diam.40.2014.628
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.13153/diam.40.2014.628
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1461030
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