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Since 1995, the Philosophy Department of the University of Amsterdam has annually appointed a foreign philosopher to the Spinoza chair. As part of the appointment, the Spinoza professor gives a number of lectures intended for a broad audience that wants to stay informed about contemporary developments in philosophy.

Spinoza Lectures 2024: Reconsidering the Racial Reckoning

This year, the Spinoza Chair was be held by Paul C. Taylor, Presidential Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The central topic is Reconsidering the Racial Reckoning. Taylor delivered two lectures.

Paul C. Taylor

About Paul C. Taylor

Paul C. Taylor is the Presidential Professor of Philosophy at UCLA. He received his formal training at Morehouse College, the Kennedy School of Government, and Rutgers University. His research focuses primarily on aesthetics, philosophical race theory, American philosophy, and Africana philosophy. His books include Black is Beautiful: A Philosophy of Black Aesthetics, which received the 2017 monograph prize from the American Society for Aesthetics, and Race: A Philosophical Introduction. He is a newly elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lecture 1: The Racial Reckoning, Rethought

Thursday 25 April 2024

After US police officers killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020, a wave of outrage swept the world. Sympathy protests sprang up worldwide, from Washington, D.C. to West Papua, from Seattle to South Africa. Activists in all these places, moved by the similarities in their struggles and by the promise of cross-context solidarity, called attention to the global reach and the local impacts of persistent racial injustice. Anti-racism rose to the top of corporate social responsibility agendas, and an army of anti-racism experts emerged to meet corporate, foundation, and government demand for assistance in meeting the historic moment.

And then, as many expected, it all faded. The investments dried up or never made it past the pledge stage. Diversity experts found their prospects for employment, or for making a difference in the roles they had, shrinking. Political leaders turned to other pressing matters. And a rising tide of authoritarian, autocratic, and xenophobic political tendencies fueled a backlash against the very idea that racial justice was a matter worth addressing.

“Rethinking the Racial Reckoning” will reconsider the meaning and impact of this moment. Two questions will drive the inquiry. What was the racial reckoning, really? And what, if anything, is left of it?

Lecture 2: What’s Wrong with Antiracism

Thursday, 6 June 2024

Despite the failure of the racial reckoning to live up to its name, the idea that racism is objectionable remains a fixture of mainstream politics. Some people endorse the idea only in public, while refusing or ignoring it in private. Others extol the virtues of racism to anyone who will listen. But all of these people, committed racists and their fair-weather rivals alike, know what more ardent opponents of racism also know, even if they find the knowledge lamentable: promoting racism is a problem in what most people regard as polite company.

Why, then, has anti-racism fallen on such hard times? The familiar forms of anti-anti-racist backlash politics are easy enough to anticipate and explain. But anti-racist activity, especially as practiced by anti-racism experts and diversity consultants, has come under fire from a surprising variety of ideological directions. “What’s Wrong with Anti-Racism” will map and explore some prominent critiques of anti-racism and consider their significance for broader questions of social ethics.

Spinoza Chair 1995-present

2023 - Linda Martín Alcoff (registration of lectures: Extractivism as a model for Modern Epistemology en A Decolonial Dialogic Approach as a Corrective Epistemology)
2022 - Charles Mills (Charles Mills passed away in late 2021, Lewis R. Gordon and Philomena Essed spoke in his place)
2021 - Robert Brandom (registration of lectures: A Rortyan Pragmatist Master-Argument and Hegel’s Recollective Account of Representation)
2019 - Catherine Malabou (registration of lectures: Beyond the 'archic' Principle and Morality and Horizontality)
2018 - Susan Wolf (registration of lectures: Aesthetic Responsibility and Selves Like Us)
2017 - Béatrice Longuenesse (registration of lectures: Perplexing I and Two unlikely bedfellows: Kant and Freud on Morality)
2016 - Jonathan Lear
2015 - Sally Haslanger
2014 - Quentin Skinner
2013 - Onora O’Neill 
2012 - Michael Friedmann
2011 - Cristina Lafont
2010 - Moira Gatens
2009 - Robert Pippin
2008 - Asma Barlas
2007 - Herman De Dijn, Jonathan Israel en Steven Nadler
2006 - John Dupré 
2005 - Bruno Latour 
2004 - Nancy Fraser
2003 - Hubert Dreyfus 
2002 - Judith Butler 
2001 - Hilary Putnam 
2000 - Seyla Benhabib 
1999 - Axel Honneth 
1998 - Stanley Cavell 
1997 - Richard Rorty 
1996 - Albrecht Wellmer 
1995 - Manfred Frank, Daniel C. Dennett en Will Kymlicka


The following texts of the Spinoza Lectures have been published by Van Gorcum:






Jonathan Lear

The Idea of a Philosophical Anthropology

9789023 255581


Sally Haslanger

Critical Theory and Practice

9789023 255574


Quentin Skinner 

Hobbes and the State

9789023 254591


Onora O'Neill

Speech Rights and Speech Wrongs

9789023 254584


Michael Friedman

A Post-Kuhnian Philosophy of Science

9789023 253044


Christina Lafont

Global Governance and Human Rights

9789023 250753


Moira Gatens

Spinoza's Hard Path to Freedom

9789023 249399


Robert Pippin

Hegel's Concept of Self-Consciousness

9789023 246220


Asma Barlas

Re-understanding Islam: a Double Critique

9789023 244585


John Dupré

The Constituents of Life

9789023 243809


Bruno Latour

What Is the Style of Matters of Concern?

9789023 243793


Nancy Fraser

Reframing Justice

9789023 241553


Hubert Dreyfus

Skilled Coping as Higher Intelligibility

9789023 243786


Judith Butler

Giving an Account of Oneself

9789023 239406


Hilary Putnam

Enlightenment and Pragmatism

9789023 237396


Seyla Benhabib

Transformations of Citizenship

9789023 237242


Axel Honneth

Suffering from Indeterminacy

9789023 235644


Richard Rorty

Truth, politics and 'post-modernism'

9789023 232797


Albrecht Wellmer

Revolution und Interpretation

9789023 234265


Will Kymlicka

States, Nations and Cultures

9789023 232247


Manfred Frank

Selbstbewußtsein und Argumentation

9789023 232780