Engaging Spinoza and Spinozism

Doctoral Dissertation


The recent popularity of arguments identifying pressures in theistic philosophy to become Spinozistic has ignited a new interest in a question that is also for the author of this dissertation of great (personal) significance: Should I be a Spinozist or theist? I address this question in the three independent essays that compose this dissertation. These essays are unified by a common theme, namely, to identify pressures in Spinozism towards theism and ways of resisting it that abide by certain principles, which Spinoza and the Spinozists themselves accepted. These engagements with Spinozism take three different forms: a kind of constructive/historical engagement (essay 1), a kind of internal consistency examination (essay 2), and a kind of methodological investigation (essay 3) – each making its own case for or against Spinozism. But there is also a more general lesson to learn: The centuries long argumentative back and forth between Spinozists and theists, I suggest, has obscured a deeper disagreement about the role of God in what Spinoza calls the proper order of philosophizing. Thus, my answer to the question as to whether we should be Spinozists or theists – like any good philosophical answer – is: It depends! It depends on the role that God takes in the order in which we philosophize.


Attribute NameValues
Author Kay Malte Bischof
Contributor Yitzhak Y. Melamed, Committee Member
Contributor Samuel Newlands, Research Director
Contributor Kris McDaniel, Committee Member
Contributor Christopher Shields, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Philosophy
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
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Defense Date
  • 2021-07-12

Submission Date 2021-07-13
Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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