GOV 382M • Spinoza and the Foundations of Liberal Democracy
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
In his Theologico-Political Treatise, Spinoza elaborates, for the first time in history, a philosophical foundation for democratic republicanism dedicated to freedom of speech and thought. The foundation is laid by way of a radical critique of claims that the Bible should be taken as the divinely-inspired source of a wisdom that ought to govern human reason, especially in its quest for an understanding of justice and civic life. Spinoza further elaborates the implications for political science of this new liberal-democratic theory in his unfinished Political Treatise. This course will be devoted to a careful analysis of these two treatises, and especially the Theologico-Political Treatise, with a view to clarifying the original theologico-political grounding of the modern theory of liberal democracy.