It’s explanation all the way down even though we won’t get to it because the explanations are infinite and we’re finite. That’s Spinoza’s guide.
When I was coming up through graduate school and was a young assistant professor, Spinoza was really out of fashion. He is a metaphysician. He tries to deduce the nature of the world through pure reason.
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: Religious belief is now something that scientists are looking at and trying to explain and I don’t think it's an accident that the most prominent atheist writers come from the domain of evolutionary psychology.
When I used to teach the philosophy of religion or arguments for the existence of God, 20, 25 years ago it didn’t provoke a lot of discussion in the classroom. Now it’s really escaped from the classroom. It’s in the public square and it’s interesting why now.
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is a novelist and philosopher. Her novels include "The Mind-Body Problem," "The Late-Summer Passion of a Woman of Mind," "Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal, and Quantum Physics," and her latest, "36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction" (Pantheon Books).
In 1996 Goldstein became a MacArthur Fellow. In 2005 she was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2006 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Radcliffe Fellowship. In 2008, she was designated a Humanist Laureate by the International Academy of Humanism, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Emerson College, where she gave the commencement address.
Goldstein has taught at Barnard College, in the Columbia MFA writing program, and in the department of philosophy at Rutgers; has been a visiting scholar at Brandeis University; and has taught for five years as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2006-2007 she was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and a Guggenheim Fellow. Currently she is a Research Associate in the Department of Psychology, Harvard University.