Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
When asked for his philosophical outlook, Einstein always referred to Spinoza, the seventeenth-century Jewish iconoclast. Spinoza’s vision of reality and the kind of explanations it demanded resonated deeply with the twentieth century’s own scientific iconoclast, whose relativity theory helped topple classical physics along with our most fundamental intuitions about space and time. Spinoza died before physics really came into its own with the publication of Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, so his influence on Einstein is all the more surprising. What were the intuitions that both thinkers shared—and are they in any way connected with Jewish texts and ideas?
This lecture is made possible by the generosity of the Josephine Cohen Foundation.