Articles #Spinoza


Philosophies of Judaism

Philosophies of Judaism

Jewish philosophy should give way to the philosophy (or philosophies) of Judaism, a deep analysis that takes normative Judaism as the explanandum—and I believe that this project will be most amenable to analytic philosophical concerns. In my view, two estimable figures in this (medieval) way of understanding and doing Jewish philosophy are Julius Guttmann and Leon Roth. There has also recently come into being the Association for the Philosophy of Judaism, which is devoted to injecting the subject with analytic rigor. I am always on the alert for parochialism and exceptionalism in Jewish philosophy. I am no fan of any kind of apologetics, so it doesn’t worry me that there is no analogue to Alvin Plantinga in Jewish philosophy. Further, I think philosophers working out of the Jewish tradition tend to focus on commentary, rather than apologetics. Even medieval Jewish kalam is a commentarial tradition. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Daniel Frank.

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Parmenides and Spinoza

Parmenides and Spinoza

I’m keenly aware of the possibility of the Parmenidean (e.g., me!) undermining their own position. After all, explanation itself seems to be relational; things are explained (often at any rate) in terms of other things. I don’t shy away from this apparent or even real self-undermining. For me, it’s a feature not a bug. And I embrace this self-undermining, in much the same way that Parmenides may have (see especially Owen’s reading of Parmenides), as Wittgenstein does at the end of the Tractatus, as Bradley does, and as my skeptical hero, Sextus Empiricus, does. In this way, I offer—paradoxically perhaps—a relational metaphysical challenge to relational metaphysics itself. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Michael Della Rocca

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