Branded a heretic by the Amsterdam Jewish community and a prophet by Deep Ecologists, Spinoza is not your ordinary political thinker. Rather than push for change through legislation and institutions, Spinoza encourages us to develop better encounters between our thoughts and our feelings and between ourselves and the natural world. Part of our effort, therefore, will be to develop skills in reading our emotional responses to Very Difficult Matters that make us feel powerless, such as the industrialized food system, and to figure out ways to form better alliances. This class will be useful to students interested in community organizing, civic ecology, and geometrical psychology.
- to practice close reading of a philosophical text;
- to gain a deeper understanding of the human mind;
- to experiment with creating better encounters.
Gilles Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy (San Francisco: City Lights Press, 1988)
Benedict de Spinoza, A Spinoza Reader, edited by Edwin Curley (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994).
Benedict de Spinoza, Theological-Political Treatise (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2001).
Benedict de Spinoza, Letter 58