Annual Conference "Spinoza's Universe" at Baruch College, NYC

Baruch College
Baruch College, Lexington Avenue, New York, NY, USA

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On April 19th, the Jewish Studies Center of Baruch College will organize its annual conference "Spinoza's Universe" at the Rosalyn and Irwin Engelman Recital Hall, New York City. This is a free event, but registration is required.

"Spinoza's Universe"

Few philosophers have elicited as much controversy as Baruch Spinoza (1632 – 1677), banished from the Sephardic community for his heretical views. A day of guest speakers will explore his philosophy in the context of the tumultuous world of the 17th Century Holland, and its continued relevance today. Keynote address by author and historian Russell Shorto.

Panel 1: "Why Spinoza Now?"

From 10am until 11:45am, the relevance of Spinoza in our current political and social environment will be discussed. Sign up here.

  • Yitzhak Y. Melamed (Johns Hopkins University): "Spinoza on Right and Power"
  • Heidi Ravven (Hamilton College): "Did Spinoza Get Ethics Right? Some Evidence from the New Brain Sciences"
  • Ericka Tucker (Marquette University) "Why Democracy?"

Panel 2: "Spinoza and the (Post) Enlightenment"

The second session, from 12pm until 1:45pm, will focus on Spinoza’s impact on the Enlightenment and more. Sign up here.

  • Omri Boehm (The New School): "Spinoza and Kant on Prophecy and Enlightenment"
  • Julie Klein (Villanova University): "Spinoza and the Idea of Critique"
  • Derk Pereboom (Cornell University): "Spinoza, Free Will, and the Legacy of the Radical Enlightenment"
  • Justin Steinberg (Brooklyn College | CUNY Graduate Center): "Envy, Equality, and Exclusion in Spinoza's Analysis of Democracy"

Panel 3: "Spinoza and the Jewish Community"

From 5:30pm until 7:00pm, three speakers will explore Spinoza’s relationship to the Jewish community in all its complicated history. Sign up here.

  • Nancy Levene (Yale University): "Jewish Questions to Spinoza"
  • Michael A. Rosenthal (University of Washington): "Spinoza, Ben-Gurion, and Church-State Relations in Israel"
  • Daniel Schwartz (George Washington University): "Should the Excommunication of Spinoza Be Lifted? Reflections on an Age-Old Dilemma"

Keynote Speaker: Russell Shorto

At 7:30pm, Russel Shorto will address "Spinoza, the Dutch Landscape and the Human Mind". He is the author of "The Island at the Center of the World". Sign up here.

Russell Shorto

Sponsored by the Sandra Kahn Wasserman Jewish Studies Center, the Baruch Performing Arts Center and the Philosophy Department. Co-sponsored with Congregation Shearith Israel and The Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, American Sephardi Federation (ASF), and The Portuguese Consulate.

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