published on October 20, 2015
The Spinozistic Path to Skepticism
Maimon, Novalis, and the Demands of Reason
The Absolute Idealism that arose in the 1790s is often seen as an attempt to combine elements of Fichte and Spinoza in order to overcome the various dualisms that lie at the heart of Kant’s Critical Idealism. What is less recognized is that a peculiar form of skepticism also emerged from a commitment to Spinozistic rationalism, and in this paper I explore how both Salomon Maimon and Novalis can be fruitfully seen as apostate rationalists, who are led to a distinctive skeptical position by way of Spinoza.