Autumn Colloquium Series - Samuel Newlands
WhenFriday, Nov 16, 2018, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Campus locationSavery Hall (SAV)
Campus roomSAV 260
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsDepartment of Philosophy
Stroum Center for Jewish Studies
Pamela Marie Saari Endowed Fund in Philosophy
University of Washington

Savery Hall, Room 260

Title: "Spinozistic Selves"

Samuel Newlands
William J. and Dorothy K. O'Neill Collegiate Associate Professor in Philosophy
University of Notre Dame

Keynote of the Spinoza on Freedom and the Highest Good: Workshop on Ethics, Part V

Spinoza’s system contains a pair of seemingly unrelated problems. First, he thinks that the main path for moral progress involves converting passions into actions, but, given his theory of actions, this seems to involve making changes to the past. Second, his austere substance-mode ontology seems to leave no room for a category of human selves or persons. Drawing on parallel work by Harry Frankfurt, I argue that these problems have a common solution in Spinoza’s constructivist account of selves and that this leads to a striking account of moral transformation.

Samuel Newlands is the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Collegiate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. His new book, Reconceiving Spinoza, appeared in August with Oxford University Press. He has published dozens of articles on early modern philosophy, and he co-edited New Essays on Leibniz’s Philosophy (OUP 2014) and Metaphysics and the Good (OUP 2014).  He has also directed several large, multi-million dollar research projects spanning philosophy, psychology, sociology, and theology, including Hope and Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations and The Problem of Evil in Modern and Contemporary Thought. Newlands also serves as a Director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame.…
Printed: Friday, December 13, 2019 at 5:19 PM PST