Bringing ‘Faction’ to Philosophy


Spinoza’s world was inhabited by men and women passionately exploring freedom and truth. In his novel Spinozaland, philosopher Maxime Rovère brings this world to life and provides an original approach to Spinoza’s philosophy.

During this event, Spinoza scholar Miriam van Reijen discusses the approaches and significance of Maxime Rovère’s Spinozaland, a novel that sheds a new light on Spinoza’s life and work. Furthermore, we will learn about Rovère’s most recent research on Spinoza’s Ethics, for which he developed a wholly new approach, based on practical interactions between men, domains, families, and experiences. What can we expect from this type of historical approach when it comes to our conception of the history of philosophy? Could our understanding move beyond individual geniuses and towards intellectual networks in which ideas are exchanged?

About the speakers

Maxime Rovère is a  philosopher. He has dedicated several works to Spinoza, including a new translation of Spinoza’s letters into French. He has taught in France (ENS-Lyon) and Brazil (PUC-Rio), and developed a theory of his own on intellectual interactions (L’école de la vie. Erotique de l’acte d’apprendre, Flammarion, 2020). Last fall, he was a fellow at the NIAS-KNAW, in which he developed a new interpretation of Spinoza’s Ethics. Spinozaland is Rovère’s only book written as a novel and is conceived as ‘a faction: a fiction with facts’ (Wiep van Bunge).

Miriam van Reijen graduated in social philosophy and ethics, and in sociology of culture and religion. From 1973-1985 she was a lecturer in philosophy and a lecturer at various vocational training courses, including for social workers and architects. She has developed her own course Philosophy in Practice at the International School for Philosophy in Leusden. From 1992 until 2020 she was also a teacher at the HOVO at the Universities of Nijmegen and Tilburg. She defended her thesis on the philosophy of Spinoza in 2010 at the University of Tilburg. Currently, she guides Socratic conversations and Philosophical Cafes and organizes courses on the Stoic philosophy and the philosophy of Spinoza, in the Netherlands, France, and at Lesbos.

Dorine Lebreton (moderator) heads the Alliance Française of Amsterdam. She has travelled across the globe, has a strong affinity for geopolitics, and aims to promote Francophone cultures in her host country. She enjoys imagining new projects to make French essential and dreams about the day when the Alliance Française will become a vibrant cultural center in Amsterdam

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