Steven Nadler

Position title: William H. Hay II Professor & Evjue-Bascom Professor in Humanities - Department of Philosophy


Languages: English, Dutch, Latin.

Education: Ph.D., Philosophy, Columbia University.

Departments: Department of Philosophy (departmental profile here).

Undergraduate Courses: Introduction to Philosophy, Good, Beauty, and the Meaning of Life, History of Modern Philosophy, Jewish Philosophy from Antiquity through the Seventeenth Century.

Graduate Courses: Seventeenth century philosophers (especially Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz), “Causation in Early Modern Philosophy,” “Ideas and Representation in the Seventeenth-Century,” “The Problem of Evil in Early Modern Philosophy,” and medieval Jewish philosophy.

Professor Nadler’s research focuses on philosophy in the seventeenth century. He has written extensively on Descartes and Cartesianism, Spinoza, and Leibniz. He also works on medieval and early modern Jewish philosophy. His publications include Spinoza: A Life (Cambridge, 1999); The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Story of Philosophers, God, and Evil (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2008; paperback, Princeton 2010); and The Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy: From Antiquity through the Seventeenth Century (2009), co-edited with Tamar Rudavsky. His two most recent books are A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza’s Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age(Princeton, 2011); and The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter: A Portrait of Descartes (Princeton, 2013). He has held visiting professorships at the University of Amsterdam, the École Normale Supérieure (Paris), the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Paris), Stanford University, and the University of Chicago. He recently served as the editor of the Journal of the History of Philosophy.

Selected Publications:
A Book Forged in Hell
The Best of All Possible Worlds
Occasionalism: Causation Among the Cartesians
Co-editor, The Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy
Spinoza: A Life (Koret Jewish Book Award Winner)
Spinoza’s Ethics: An Introduction
Translation of Cordemoy, Six Discourses
Spinoza’s Heresy
Rembrandt’s Jews (Pulitzer Prize Finalist)
Editor, A Companion to Early Modern Philosophy
The Cambridge Companion to Malebranche
Arnauld and the Cartesian Philosophy of Ideas
Malebranche and Ideas
The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter: A Portrait of Descartes
Editor, Spinoza and Medieval Jewish Philosophy