This is an ongoing live course (Jan. – Feb. 2022) of Ayn Rand University, a new kind of university which provides advanced live courses in philosophy and communication from an Objectivist perspective. ARU courses include weekly live classes conducted by videoconference and taught by experts in Objectivism.
Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677) was a singular thinker who contained multitudes. He made groping, impassioned defenses of objective reality, reason, egoism, and liberty—all startlingly mixed with their opposites. He helped to inspire the Enlightenment, and was one of the few philosophers to whom Ayn Rand paid a significant compliment—but also made possible contrary systems, such as that of Hegel. How could this all be true of one man? And what, exactly, did Spinoza advocate?
This course will provide a broad overview of Spinoza’s metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics, as found in his two major works: the Theological-Political Treatise (1670) and the Ethics (1677). Each work provides an account of his system, but from different perspectives. Particular attention will be devoted to the striking similarities and fundamental differences that Spinoza’s system has with Objectivism.