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Tag Archives: From The fate of reason: German philosophy from Kant to Fichte

The 129 Enemies of Spinoza: The “dead dog” of Philosophy

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Reading up on the so-called “Pantheism Controversy,” perhaps in terms of study the most neglected philosophical event in European history bearing ramifications from Kant (his writing of the Third Critique) to the rest of German Idealism flowering, I came across this little tidbit that Spinoza was the proving ground for the orthodoxy of newly christened doctors. From The fate of reason: German philosophy from Kant to Fichte by Frederick C. Beiser.

But Beiser does not let us rest with this stereotype of universal rebuke. In fact among the Left-wing radicalism of its time, Spinoza remained a kind of (closet) hero:

I would like one day to post on this Controversy, as  it had tremendous echo throughout Western Philosophy, echo I suspect has not abated. In order to understand much of what followed one has to grasp the “fear” of Spinozism (both in the philosophical sense, but also in the social/political sense). In particular, Beiser’s reading of Spinoza as 18th century radical Lutheranism without the Bible has something significant to say about the political aspects of Spinoza application for our day, and ultimately one must ask if we are still living in the aftermath of the 18th century fear that Spinozism would erase both God (separate from Creation) and Man.

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