Alexander Douglas


Heythrop College University of London

Spinozist Psychology and the French Enlightenment

Spinoza’s influence on the Enlightenment has been the subject of recent interest, largely kindled by the work of Jonathan Israel. Israel proposes that Spinoza provided the intellectual foundation for a pan-European movement promoting democracy and egalitarianism: the ‘Radical Enlightenment’. Like most Spinoza scholars, I am unconvinced. As others have argued, Spinoza’s philosophy provides few arguments to support the normative position Israel identifies with the Radical Enlightenment and even provides arguments against it.