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Prof. Susan James: Spinoza on Learning to Live Justly

This season’s theme is Jews and Justice. We aim to explore their concepts of justice, the ways how they are related to the different political and cultural realms they lived in, as well as the potential juridical and political conflicts that arise from these concepts.

Drawing on the work of his contemporary, Thomas Hobbes, Spinoza argues that law and the norms of justice around which it is organised are an entirely human creation. Communities make laws, and in doing so make justice. But how do they develop understandings of justice that do more than reflect the interests of the powerful, and provide standards for assessing and criticizing social arrangements? This lecture explores Spinoza’s account of the philosophical, theological and political processes through which communities learn to live justly.

Susan James is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College London. Her most recent book, Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion and Politics.
The Theologico-Political Treatise will be published by Oxford University Press in January 2012. Among her other works are Passion and Action. The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy and The Political Writings of Margaret Cavendish.


Prof Susan James | talks | www


Date and Time:

2 February 2012 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



German Historical Institute
17 Bloomsbury Square

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Organised by:

Leo Baeck Institute
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Available from:

Places are strictly limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute, London (email info@leobaeck.co.uk or phone 020 7882 5690).

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