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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Michael Rosenthal
PHIL 522
Seattle Campus

Seminar in Modern Philosophy

Class description

The purpose of this course is to investigate Spinoza's "Theological-Political Treatise" in detail, analyzing its methods as well as its conclusions. To that end, since it is impossible to neatly separate the threads of theological, philosophical, and political argument that wind their way through every chapter, we will approach the work through its own stated themes, paying close attention to its internal structure, its relation to the "Ethics", and to its historical and intellectual context. In teaching this text, I want to explore not only how Spinoza was involved in and stimulated by perennial philosophical debates but also how he was deeply engaged in a contemporary political struggle over the future of the young Dutch Republic. We will learn about the relation of faith to reason, the nature of rights, the foundations of the state, and philosophical arguments for religious toleration.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Michael Rosenthal
Date: 08/21/2013