Eugene Marshall presents an original, systematic account of Spinoza's philosophy of mind, in which the mind is presented as an affective mechanism that, when rational, behaves as a spiritual automaton. He explores key themes in Spinoza's thought, and illuminates his philosophical and ethical project in a striking new way.
: Two common ways of explaining akrasia will be presented, one which focuses on strength of desire and the other which focuses on action issuing from practical judgment. Though each is intuitive in a certain way, they both fail as explanations of the most interesting cases of akrasia. Spinoza 's own thoughts on bondage and the affects follow, from which a Spinozist explanation of akrasia is constructed. This account is based in Spinoza 's mechanistic psychology of cognitive affects. Because Spinoza (...) 's account explains action asissuing from modes of mind that are both cognitive and affective, it captures the intuitions that motivate the two traditional views while avoiding the pitfalls that result from their one‐sided approaches. This project will allow us a fuller understanding of Spinozist moral psychology. In addition to this historical value, the Spinozist theory may offer a satisfactory explanation of certain hard cases of akrasia while avoiding the problems be set by other theories. For this reason, the Spinozist account could also be seen as a useful contribution to our philosophical understanding of the phenomenon of akrasia. (shrink)
This essay presents the challenges facing those preparing to teach the history of modern philosophy and proposes some solutions. I first discuss the goals for such a course, as well as the particular methodological challenges of teaching a history of modern philosophy course. Next a standard set of thinkers, readings, and themes is presented, followed by some alternatives. I then argue that one ought to diversify one’s syllabus beyond the canonical set of six or seven white men. As a first (...) step toward that goal, I propose several ways to include women philosophers in the syllabus. I then lay out assignments and in-class activities that aid students toward the course goals. I conclude with a consideration of the challenges and rewards of teaching modern philosophy. (shrink)
The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are arguably the most important period in philosophy’s history, given that they set a new and broad foundation for subsequent philosophical thought. Over the last decade, however, discontent among instructors has grown with coursebooks’ unwavering focus on the era’s seven most well-known philosophers—all of them white and male—and on their exclusively metaphysical and epistemological concerns. While few dispute the centrality of these figures and the questions they raised, the modern era also included essential contributions from (...) women—like Margaret Cavendish, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Émilie Du Châtelet—as well as important non-white thinkers, such as Anton Wilhelm Amo, Julien Raimond, and Ottobah Cugoano. At the same time, there has been increasing recognition that moral and political philosophy, philosophy of the natural world, and philosophy of race—also vibrant areas of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—need to be better integrated with the standard coverage of metaphysics and epistemology. -/- A New Modern Philosophy: The Inclusive Anthology of Primary Sources addresses—in one volume—these valid criticisms. Weaving together multiple voices and all of the era’s vibrant areas of debate, this volume sets a new agenda for studying modern philosophy. It includes a wide range of readings from 34 thinkers, integrating essential works from all of the canonical writers along with the previously neglected philosophers. Arranged chronologically, editors Eugene Marshall and Susanne Sreedhar provide an introduction for each author that sets the thinker in his or her time period as well as in the longer debates to which the thinker contributed. Study questions and suggestions for further reading conclude each chapter. At the end of the volume, in addition to a comprehensive subject index, the book includes 13 Syllabus Modules, which will help instructors use the book to easily set up different topically structured courses, such as "The Citizen and the State," "Mind and Matter," "Education," "Theories of Perception," or "Metaphysics of Causation." -/- And an eresource offers a wide range of supplemental online resources, including essay assignments, exams, quizzes, student handouts, reading questions, and scholarly articles on teaching the history of philosophy. (shrink)
Event synopsis: Professor Susan James inverses Leo Strauss’ reading of Spinoza. Whereas Strauss emphasized the hidden subtext of Spinoza’s arguments, James revives the explicit debates of his time within which Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise was situated. But this is not a simple historical reconstruction. James’ close reading of the Treatise offers a radically new perspective on Spinoza’s revolutionary book – a reading that presents startling new perspective on the political, metaphysical and theological implications of the book. Given the importance of Spinoza’s (...) political writings in contemporary radical democratic approaches to the state, James intervention has the potential to reshape the way we think of a Spinozan politics. (shrink)
Margaret Cavendish Margaret Lucas Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle, was a philosopher, poet, playwright and essayist. Her philosophical writings were concerned mostly with issues of metaphysics and natural philosophy, but also extended to social and political concerns. Like Hobbes and Descartes, she rejected what she took to be the occult explanations of the Scholastics. […].
"Margaret Cavendish's philosophical work is at last taking its rightful place in the history of seventeenth-century thought, but her writings are so voluminous and wide-ranging that introducing her work to students has been difficult—at least until this volume came along. This carefully edited abridgment of _Observations upon Experimental Philosophy_ will be indispensable for making Cavendish's fascinating ideas accessible to students. Marshall's Introduction provides a helpful overview of themes in Cavendish's natural philosophy, and the footnotes contain useful background information about some (...) of the texts and philosophers that Cavendish mentions. The additional selections from Descartes, Hobbes, Boyle, and Hooke also help contextualize Cavendish's views." —Deborah Boyle, _College of Charleston_. (shrink)
Spinoza: Basic Concepts explores key concepts involved in Spinoza’s thinking, relating it to his understanding of philosophy, outlining the arguments and explaining the implications of each concept. Together, the chapters cover the full range of Spinoza’s interdisciplinary system of philosophy.