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Down with Influence! Proposals to Free the Humanities From an Empty Word

Maxime Rovere, Eberhard L. Faber Short-Term Visiting Fellow in the Humanities Council and the Department of French and Italian

December 3, 2019 · 4:30 pm-6:00 pm · 105 Chancellor Green

Department of French and Italian

When it comes to telling the history of creations of all sorts (Arts, Literature and Philosophy), we usually look for the sources on which an author or artist has drawn, and whether these sources are explicit or implicit, it is commonly accepted to speak of the “influence” of the predecessors on the successors. Unfortunately, this term, designed to avoid mechanical determinism, remains dependent on a causal pattern. After showing its limits, we propose to start from a non-linear temporal structure to shape the concepts of another type of history.

Maxime Rovere’s work is concerned with European Early Modern intellectual history and its methodology, and extends from there to general ethics. His recent work focuses on the collective elaboration of Spinoza’s philosophy (especially Pieter Balling, Lodewijk Meyer, Franciscus Van den Enden, and the seventeenth-century dutch intellectuals). His books include Spinoza. Méthodes pour exister (2010), Le Clan Spinoza (2017), and Que faire des cons ? (2019).

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