Freedom to Philosophize and Freedom of Thought and Speech. The Contemporary Reception of Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus

Project Details


The project will investigate the impact of Spinoza’s political philosophy, particularly his plea for the secularization of politics, democracy, and freedom of speech and thought, on the development of emancipatory movements of the Enlightenment. Not only looking to the usually analyzed classical philosophers (Bayle, Leibniz, Toland), the project will also focus on the reactions of ‘minor’
contemporary readers (1670-1750) to the Tractatus theologicopoliticus.
It will focus both on critical and supportive reactions that originated from the official academic sphere (academic programs, dissertations, inaugural lectures, journal articles) as well as the clandestine underground philosophy. Furthermore, attention will be paid to the diversity of receptions of the Tractatus in different European cultures (England, France, Germany, and the Netherlands)
and to the correlation between Spinoza’s political thought, his theory of freedom of thought and speech, and the libertas philosophandidiscourses before and after the publication of the TTP. The study will combine bibliographical literature research (in order to produce a survey of the reception documents) and constructive-theoretical philosophical work, thus contributing to a more adequate and sourcebased understanding of the genealogy of modernity and Spinoza’s role within this process.
Effective start/end date1/01/2131/12/24


  • Early modern philosophy
  • Spinoza
  • Critical freethought

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • History of ideas
  • Social and political philosophy
  • History of philosophy


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