Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677) is the most widely discussed early modern philosopher today. Yet, discussions of his philosophy rarely address his last work, the Political Treatise, which remained unfinished at the time of his death.While the Theological-Political Treatise and the Ethics are Spinoza’s most influential works, historical impact is not the only index of a work’s philosophical and political significance. In his introduction to the French critical edition, Pierre-Francois Moreau claims that the silence with which the Political Treatise has been met is owed to its conceptual radicalism. Breaking from the major traditions of its time – Cartesianism, natural law theory, and social contract theory – the Political Treatise, on his assessment, represents Spinoza’s most singular and autonomous accomplishment.
This conference will feature original essays alerting all readers to the philosophical richness of this relatively neglected work of Spinoza’s, and, at the same time, urging specialists to reassess the relatively minor role the Political Treatise currently plays in Spinoza scholarship. We have invited a diverse range of scholars from different countries and at different stages of their careers to expose new ways of reading Spinoza's last work.
This free conference is made possible thanks to support from:
- SSHRC Connection Grant Programme
- Groupe de Recherche Interuniversitaire en Philosophie Politique, GRIPP
- Research Group on Constitutional Studies, RGCS McGill
- Centre de Recherche en Ethique
- Philosophy Department, McGill
- Dean of Arts Development Fund, McGill