Eric Palmer


Allegheny College

Spinoza's Shadow on Science

Jonathan Israel has recently made much of the claim that Spinoza cast a long shadow over enlightenment culture, including scientific thought, in the century leading to the French Revolution. Israel claims that there were “two enlightenments,” dividing moderate Christian theists from radical “libertine” atheistic monists, materialists, and deists. Israel argues that monists were strongly influenced by “rationalistic and secular” interpretations of Spinoza’s thought, and moderate Christians were vehemently opposed to it, despite that he was rarely referred to in print by either group.