Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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CBC Ideas | Spinoza

Baruch Spinoza

Thanks to Ms. Bogan for passing along the link to this week’s CBC Ideas episode on Baruch Spinoza:

Baruch Spinoza was a 17th century lens grinder known for his precision optical work. But it was his philosophy that made this Dutch-Jewish thinker famous, then and now. IDEAS host Paul Kennedy explores how Spinoza’s thoughts on God, the universe, ethics and politics helped ignite the flame that became the Enlightenment.

Baruch Spinoza was a 17th century Dutch Jewish philosopher (1632-1677). He was known for his radical views on religion and politics. As a young man, he was banned by his own religious community for his scandalous ideas.

He made his living by grinding precision lens for scientists. He died young, at the age of 44, presumably from inhaling glass dust.

Spinoza did not believe that God created the heavens and earth – the universe.  For Spinoza, God was equivalent to all of nature. He believed that “false religion” created superstition.  A “true religion,” on the other hand, was liberating because it allowed freedom of thought.

The Europe of 17th century was a place  of stifling religious orthodoxies, strife and war.  Spinoza believed in freedom of thought and the principle of religious tolerance.

Spinoza also had radical ideas about the nature of politics.  He believed in democracy.  He is credited with helping to shape the revolution in human thought known as The Enlightenment.

 

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Metaphysics & Epistemology at Oxford

I wanted to take this opportunity to briefly introduce you to the wealth of academic materials found in iTunesU. In case you missed it, for the past few years now, Apple and iTunes have been making class content from some of the world’s best universities available for free. As we make our way through dense philosophical content in a seminar manner, participants in #Philosophy12 may find many of these topics and courses helpful in building a broader knowledge base for themselves and their classmates.

As we are setting out in our study of Metaphysics this week, you may find the lecture from Oxford’s Philosophy for Beginners, “Metaphysics and Epistemology,” helpful in learning some of the topic’s basic principles and vocabulary.

Also potentially of interest:

  • General Philosophy at Oxford – A series of lectures delivered by Peter Millican to first-year philosophy students at the University of Oxford. The lectures comprise the 8-week General Philosophy course and were delivered in late 2009.

  • Philosophy & the Human Situation at the Open University – Philosophy and philosophical enquiries are relevant in some shape or form to many aspects of everyday life, for example our treatment of the environment, the rapidity of today’s technological progress, whether animals should have rights and if so how they should compare to ours. Philosophy also encompasses questions about the existence of God, how life is sustained on earth, and even at what point should the Government intrude on a person’s freedom. This album introduces the study of philosophy and the human situation, and contains talks and debates from leading philosophical thinkers and teachers, past and present. This material forms part of The Open University course A211 Philosophy and the human situation.
 
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