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Robert Abzug, Director CLA 2.402, 305 E 23rd St B3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-475-6178

Tracie M. Matysik

Associate Professor Ph.D., 2001, Cornell University

Tracie M. Matysik

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Biography

Tracie Matysik works in the field of modern European intellectual history, with a particular focus on the evolution of secularism as a social movement. At present she is working on a book manuscript provisionally entitled Spinoza Matters: Pantheism, Materialism, and Alternative Enlightenment Legacies in Nineteenth-Century Europe. She is also producing an anthology of writings by women from across Europe who were influenced directly or indirectly by the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche.

J S 364 • Spinoza And Modernity

40235 • Spring 2013
Meets T 500pm-800pm GAR 0.128
(also listed as CTI 335, EUS 346, HIS 362G, PHL 354 )
show description

Baruch Spinoza, the seventeenth-century Dutch-Jewish philosopher of Portuguese descent, has been alternately labeled the instigator of the “radical enlightenment” (Jonathan Israel), the “renegade Jew who gave us modernity” (Rebecca Goldstein), the betrayer of the Jewish tradition (Hermann Cohen), a “savage anomaly” in the western intellectual tradition (Antonio Negri), and the theorist of the one kind of god in which a physicist of the twentieth century might conceivably believe (Albert Einstein).  In his own seventeenth-century Amsterdam context, his writings – and even mere rumor of them – were enough to earn him full excommunication from the Jewish community.  Yet in subsequent centuries those scandalous writings have become a crucial chapter in histories of western philosophy.  G. W. F. Hegel, for instance, would argue that only after Spinoza could one really begin to philosophize properly.  This course will introduce students to the core of Spinoza’s writings that have produced such diverse reactions over the centuries, as well as to exemplary moments in those reactions.  We will examine Spinoza’s refusal of a transcendent god or ideal, as well as of the mind-body dualism so prominent in western thought, understanding along the way the unique intellectual modernity he made possible. Reading

Baruch Spinoza, “Ethics”; “Theological-Political Treatise”; and “Political Treatise,” all in Spinoza: Complete Works, ed. Michael Morgan, trans. Samuel Shirley (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2002), ISBN: 0872206203.

Genevieve Lloyd, Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Spinoza and the Ethics (New York:  Routledge, 1996), ISBN:  0415107822.

 

Grading (using the +/- rubric):

  • 12- to 15-page paper: 45% (includes evaluation of outline and/or draft)
  • Presentation: 20%
  • Final Journal: 25% (includes credit for timely submission of quality response papers)
  • Participation: 10% (includes attendance and regular and constructive contribution to class discussion)

J S 364 • Spinoza And Modernity

40395 • Spring 2011
Meets M 400pm-700pm GAR 0.128
(also listed as EUS 346, HIS 362G, PHL 354, R S 357 )
show description

 

Spinoza and Modernity

EUS 347, HIS 362G, JS 364, PHL 354, RS 357

 

Course Description:

Baruch Spinoza, the seventeenth-century Dutch-Jewish philosopher of Portuguese descent, has been alternately labeled the instigator of the “radical enlightenment” (Jonathan Israel), the “renegade Jew who gave us modernity” (Rebecca Goldstein), the betrayer of the Jewish tradition (Hermann Cohen), a “savage anomaly” in the western intellectual tradition (Antonio Negri), and the theorist of the one kind of god in which a physicist of the twentieth century might conceivably believe (Albert Einstein).  In his own seventeenth-century Amsterdam context, his writings – and even mere rumor of them – were enough to earn him full excommunication from the Jewish community.  Yet in subsequent centuries those scandalous writings have become a crucial chapter in histories of western philosophy.  G. W. F. Hegel, for instance, would argue that only after Spinoza could one really begin to philosophize properly.  This course will introduce students to the core of Spinoza’s writings that have produced such diverse reactions over the centuries, as well as to exemplary moments in those reactions.  We will examine Spinoza’s refusal of a transcendent god or ideal, as well as of the mind-body dualism so prominent in western thought, understanding along the way the unique intellectual modernity he made possible.     

 

Texts (subject to change)

•Baruch Spinoza, The Essential Spinoza: Ethics and Related Writings, trans. Samuel Shirley, ed. 

    Michael L. Morgan (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2006), ISBN:  0872208036.

•Baruch Spinoza, The Theological-Political Treatise, trans. Samuel Shirley (Indianapolis: 

    Hackett Publishing, 2001), ISBN:  0872206076.

•Genevieve Lloyd, Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Spinoza and the Ethics (New York: 

    Routledge, 1996), ISBN:  0415107822.

•Warren Montag and Ted Stolze, eds., The New Spinoza (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota 

    Press, 2008), ISBN:  0816625417.

 

Grading:

12- to 15-page paper:     50%

Final Journal:            20%

Class Presentation:        20%

Class Participation:        10%

 

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