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Maimonides on Divine Providence and Moral Luck
January 31, 2011 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Resident Fellow (2010-2011)
A look at the way in which the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides explains the workings of divine providence, and especially how the virtuous person might be able to escape the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. We will focus on a particularly troublesome passage that has baffled commentators since the 12th century.
Steven Nadler is the William H. Hay II/WARF Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has been teaching since 1988. He is also a faculty member of the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies (and a former holder of the Max and Frieda Weinstein/Bascom Professorship of Jewish Studies), and the editor of the Journal of the History of Philosophy. A specialist in the history of early modern philosophy and in medieval and early modern Jewish philosophy, his books include Arnauld and the Cartesian Philosophy of Ideas (Princeton University Press, 1989), Malebranche and Ideas (Oxford University Press, 1992), Spinoza: A Life (Cambridge University Press, 1999, winner of the 2000 Koret Jewish Book Award for biography, and now translated into ten languages), Spinoza’s Heresy: Immortality and the Jewish Mind (Oxford University Press, 2002), Rembrandt’s Jews (University of Chicago Press, 2003, named a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction), Spinoza’s Ethics: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2006), The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Story of Philosophers, God and Evil (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008; paperback, Princeton University Press, 2010), and Occasionalism: Causation Among the Cartesians (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). He is also the co-editor of the Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy: From Antiquity through the Seventeenth Century (2008), among other volumes. He has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales (Paris), and the holder of the Spinoza Chair at the University of Amsterdam.