If you’ve never attended in the fall, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the new Zoom link
DATE: Tuesday, October 27
TIME: 1 PM Princeton time (EST) / 8 PM Bucharest time (GMT+2)
PANEL : Reason, Passions and Law in Hobbes and Spinoza
SPEAKERS: Salvatore Carannante (University of Pisa), Claudia Dumitru (Princeton University), Daniel Garber (Princeton University)
Equality and Private Judgment in Hobbes’s State of Nature
Claudia Dumitru (Princeton University)
In the absence of any intersubjective standard, in the Hobbesian state of nature “every man’s own reason is to be accounted, not only the rule of his own actions, which are done at his own peril, but also for the measure of another man’s reason, in such things as do concern him” (De cive II.1, fn). This talk examines an argument from epistemic symmetry that Hobbes sketches in favor of this position in Elements of Law and, with some modifications, in the Leviathan. I place particular emphasis on the role equality plays as a premise in this argument and on the relationship between equality and Hobbes’s conception of right reason.
Human Nature and Civil Society: Hobbes vs. Spinoza
Daniel Garber (Princeton University)
Spinoza’s political philosophy owes a great deal to his contemporary, Thomas Hobbes. For Spinoza, as for Hobbes before him, the commonwealth is the result of individuals who come together and create structures that enable them to live together in relative peace. And for Spinoza as for Hobbes, the character of this commonwealth is a consequence of a certain conception of human nature, the urge people have to persist in being. However, I shall argue, there is a crucial difference at the foundations. For both Hobbes and Spinoza, political philosophy is grounded in a conception of human nature that itself is ultimately grounded in human biology and psychology, and ultimately in the laws of physics. But for Hobbes, human nature is a stable and unchanging grounding for politics: take away society, and we return to being the same creatures we were before entering into society. However, for Spinoza it is quite different, I would claim. For Spinoza we are genuinely changed in fundamental ways by our participating in society.
“On the divine law”. Facets of law in Spinoza’s TTP IV
Salvatore Carannante (University of Pisa)
Focusing on the Chapter 4, On the divine law, of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, the talk is aimed at exploring the various facets (natural, moral, civil) of the concept of law, seen as the intersection of different and relevant aspects of Spinoza’s philosophy. Special attention will be paid to (1) the manifold definition of law (2) the strict connection between these dense pages of the TTP and the metaphysics of the Ethica; (3) the key role likely played by Averroist sources in Spinoza’s reflection about the ‘divine law’.