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Nuovo on Spinoza: Religion

Posted on December 1, 2016 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 15th in a series of essays about the Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677) and his thoughts concerning nature, God and politics.

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Victor Nuovo on Spinoza: Being human

Posted on November 23, 2016 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 14th in a series of essays about the Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677) and his thoughts concerning nature, God and politics.

What does it mean to be human? Previous essays have given answers to this question or hinted at it. To be human is to be animal, a part of nature, mortal and perishable; it also means being a creature driven by desire, passionate in its pursuit of multiple satisfactions, deluded by fantasies and false hopes or afflicted with horrific visions that cause harm to oneself and to others.

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Nuovo on Spinoza: Eternal bliss

Posted on November 17, 2016 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 13th in a series of essays about the Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677) and his thoughts concerning nature, God and politics.

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Nuovo on Spinoza: On inventing morality

Posted on November 10, 2016 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 12th in a series of essays about the Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza (1632–1677) and his thoughts concerning Nature, God and Politics.

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Victor Nuovo on Spinoza: How to read the bible

Posted on October 20, 2016 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the tenth in a series of essays on Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza.

What is the Bible? It is a book that contains the sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. However, Jews and Christians differ about its meaning, even though, for the most part, they are referring to much the same thing when they use the name “Bible.” A Christian Bible has two parts, whose names “Old Testament” and “New Testament” signify a theological view of human history that I will explain shortly.

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Victor Nuovo on Spinoza: Calvin and Hobbes

Posted on October 13, 2016 |
By Victor Nuovo



The subjects of this essay are not the popular comic strip characters, but the real personages after whom they are named. John Calvin (1509–1564) and Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) do not convey their wisdom in easy installments and with gentle humor; they are harsh and acerbic and precise; their thought is difficult and systematic. Spinoza read them assiduously, took them seriously, borrowed from them, and creatively reshaped what he borrowed.

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Nuovo on Spinoza: Freedom and determination

Posted on October 6, 2016 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the eighth in a series of essays on Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza.

The last essay left us at the threshold of Spinoza’s morality and politics, but before we cross it, there are other matters to consider, background to be filled in, loose ends to be tidied up, and knots untied one of which demand our urgent attention. His system seems to be founded on an inconsistency. Freedom and determinism, which on the face of it are incompatible, are joined together in it.

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Victor Nuovo on Spinoza: The Passions

Posted on September 29, 2016 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a series of essays on Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza.

I begin with a reminder of some themes from the previous essays. According to Spinoza, Nature is the only thing that can rightfully be said to exist, because it depends on no other thing but itself, whereas whatever else there is depends on it and inheres in it. It is the only substance; all other things are modes or finite modifications of it, just as a simple tune or a symphony are modes of music, not the thing itself.

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Victor Nuovo: Spinoza: Our place in nature

Posted on September 22, 2016 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of essays on Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza.

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Nuovo on Spinoza: Examining the powers & limits of God and Nature

Posted on September 15, 2016 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of essays on Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza.

During his lifetime, Spinoza was vilified as an atheist. A century and a half later, he was celebrated as someone whose thought is the supreme expression of theism, as a “God intoxicated” thinker. Which is true?

To begin with, we should note that Spinoza equated God and Nature. In doing this, was it his intention to exalt Nature or to diminish God?

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