Spinoza's Faith
Martin Lin (Rutgers University - New Brunswick)

May 9, 2019, 12:15pm - 2:15pm
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne

Rm 353, Arts West, North Wing (Interactive Cinema Space)
The University of Melbourne

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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Despite his widespread reputation as an atheist, Spinoza believed in something he called “true religion” the practice of which was important to social harmony, political stability and personal happiness. Adherence to this religion requires what Spinoza calls “faith.” Spinoza defines faith as belief that is necessary to the obedient practice of justice and loving-kindness but it has been alleged that, for Spinoza, a properly philosophical conception of God is incompatible with seeing God as a lawgiver and thus as issuing commandments that can be obeyed. Since faith is believing those things that are necessary for obedience to God, the philosopher cannot have faith. This, moreover, appears to contradict Spinoza’s claim that philosophy and theology are independent and cannot come into conflict. I argue, on the contrary, that Spinoza’s highly politicized understanding of obedience to God avoids this objection.

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