Professor Susan James FBA

Early modern philosophy including philosophical psychology, epistemology, social and political philosophy and philosophy of art, focusing especially on Spinoza; philosophy of gender; social and political philosophy

Elected 2019

Philosophy, as many early-modern authors understood it, teaches us how to live as happily and harmoniously as human beings can. Much of Susan James’s recent work considers how early modern metaphysics, epistemology, social psychology, political philosophy and ethics were thought to contribute to the overall project of living well. Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy (1997) concentrates on the role of the passions in early modern conceptions of the good life. In her work on Margaret Cavendish, James explores Cavendish’s efforts to blend philosophical insight and fantasy into a productive form of self-understanding. Two book on Spinoza, Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion and Politics (2012) and Spinoza on Learning to Live Together (forthcoming 2020) range over the religious and political aspects of a philosophical way of life. Alongside her historical interests, James has written about contemporary issues in political philosophy and the philosophy of gender. Her next research project will be about the philosophy of art.

Susan James is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College London. She has held visiting positions at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Boston University, Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago.

10-Minute Talks: Spinoza on philosophising

31 Mar 2021 Professor Susan James FBA

What enables us to live together peacefully and harmoniously? Professor Susan James FBA discusses some of Spinoza's answers to this and other philosophical questions.

Current post

Birkbeck, University of London Professor of Philosophy

Past appointments

University of Chicago Kohut Visiting Professor

2017 - 2017

Boston University John Findlay Visiting Professor

2008 - 2008

Birkbeck, University of London Chair of Philosophy Department

2003 - 2006

Birkbeck, University of London Anniversary Reader in Philosophy

2000 - 2002

University of Cambridge Chair of Philosophy Department

1997 - 1999

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