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The Story of Philosophy Series – How can the ideas of Spinoza lead us into a tolerant and progressive future?
June 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm BST
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Join London ii Hosts Flick Hardingham and Irene JK to discuss the life and philosophy of Baruch de Spinoza, exploring how his ideas might be relevant (or not) in today’s society and how they might lead us into a tolerant and progressive future.
Baruch de Spinoza, a Dutch philosopher with Portuguese Jewish origins, was born in Amsterdam in the mid-1600s. An original and radical thinker, he attempted to peel off the layers of century-old religious beliefs. His philosophy sits at the crossroads of multiple philosophical traditions. He made a bold attempt to redefine the idea of God or “Nature” through intellect and reason. Having been excommunicated from his community in his youth, he went on to live a quiet life filled with intellectual fervor. His magnum opus, Ethics, is a bold and beautiful attempt that combines geometry with philosophy. His views on the world, human beings, nature provide a rationalist and moral philosophy for living well.
Had he been alive today, would the world have been more tolerant towards him and his philosophy? Why does it get so challenging to break dogmas and traditions? Why are tolerance and unity elusive goals? Can the rationalist and naturalist approaches help us live a good life?
We will explore the key themes around Spinoza’s God, intellectual courage, and living well in relative reference to our modern society.
This salon is the fourth of an 11-month Interintellect series exploring the evolution and story of Western philosophers and their ideas through ‘The Story of Philosophy’ by Will Durant. In subsequent months, we will explore key philosophers in turn by reading the relevant chapter of Durant’s book and additional texts. Click here to find out more about this salon series and join us on this journey exploring the story of philosophy.
Our goal is to foster and facilitate meaningful conversations to try and decode the layers behind this great philosopher and his life. We will also explore and question their relevance in context to our modern lives. Are these views still effectual or archaic? How can we infuse some of the wisdom into our own lives? We will explore the story of the human behind the thoughts and turn the lens towards ourselves, our lives, and our worlds.
The group will be most valuable for everyone if we all set out to contribute what we can in the spirit of vigorous and open discussion. Please approach your reading and discussion with an open but active mind and sincere intent.
During each salon, participants will be invited to share and discuss.
- Which part of this philosopher’s life and teaching resonated with you the most?
- Which of their core beliefs do you believe are still relevant today? Which are not? Why?
We look forward to seeing you there.
Additional Readings :
The Story of Philosophy – Will Durant ( Chapter 4)
In Our Time BBC – Spinoza (Listening)
Spinoza’s Philosophy of Freedom
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