Professor Michael LeBuffe has recently published a book, Spinoza on Reason, which looks at Spinoza’s Philosophy, in particular his concepts of reason.

“Spinoza has the reputation of being a great theorist of reason. He is known to philosophers as a champion of rationalism, the view that reason and not the senses is our best source of knowledge. Spinoza is also widely thought to be a major source of ideas of the European Enlightenment, in which reason came to have a central place in religion and society. The University of Otago’s motto, sapere aude, for example, came to prominence during the Enlightenment” says LeBuffe.

This reputation is deserved; Spinoza is a great theorist of reason. He appeals to reason, however, in complex ways and in many different contexts. Spinoza on Reason explains Spinoza’s account of reason in four major contexts: metaphysics, psychology, ethics, and political theory. It also explains the extent to which those different accounts offer a unified theory of reason.

The book contributes to current debates about Spinoza’s philosophy, his place in the history of philosophy, and his contribution to the European Enlightenment.

Spinoza on Reason has been published by Oxford University Press and is being hailed as “highly important” and “extremely useful”.

The interpretation of Spinoza has been the focus of LeBuffe’s academic career. Spinoza on Reason is his second book, the first, From Bondage to Freedom: Spinoza on Human Excellence,  was also published by Oxford University Press.

Find Spinoza on Reason here.


Michael LeBuffe is Head of the Philosophy Department and Baier Chair in Early Modern Philosophy.