From Bayle to the Batavian Revolution

Essays on Philosophy in the Eighteenth-Century Dutch Republic


This book is an attempt to assess the part played by philosophy in the eighteenth-century Dutch Enlightenment. Following Bayle’s death and the demise of the radical Enlightenment, Dutch philosophers soon embraced Newtonianism and by the second half of the century Wolffianism also started to spread among Dutch academics. Once the Republic started to crumble, Dutch enlightened discourse took a political turn, but with the exception of Frans Hemsterhuis, who chose to ignore the political crisis, it failed to produce original philosophers. By the end of the century, the majority of Dutch philosophers typically refused to embrace Kant’s transcendental project as well as his cosmopolitanism. Instead, early nineteenth-century Dutch professors of philosophy preferred to cultivate their joint admiration for the Ancients.

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Wiep van Bunge, Ph.D. (1990), Erasmus University Rotterdam, is Professor of the History of Philosophy at that university. His books include From Stevin to Spinoza (Brill, 2001) and Spinoza Past and Present (Brill, 2012).

Inroduction: the Exception of the Dutch Enlightenment

1 Bayle’s Scepticism Revisited
 1 The Dutch Refuge between Golden Age and Dutch Enlightenment
 2 The Bayle Enigma
 3 Bayle on Toleration
 4 Bayle’s Scepticism
 5 Bayle’s ‘Pyrrhonism’
 6 Conclusion

2 Bayle and Erasmus: The Politics of Appropriation
 1 Erasmus of Rotterdam
 2 Bayle on Erasmus
 3 Erasmus and Bayle in the Republic of Letters
 4 Conclusion

3 Bayle’s Presence in the Dutch Republic
 1 Bayle among the Dutch
 2 Justus van Effen and Bernard Mandeville
 3 A Sceptical Crisis in the Dutch Republic?
 4 Aftermath

4 Justus van Effen on Reason and Virtue
 1 Introduction
 2 Moderate?
 3 De Hollandsche Spectator
 4 Conclusion

5 Dutch Cartesianism and the Advent of Newtonianism
 1 Voltaire versus Descartes
 2 Dutch Cartesianism and Newtonianism
 3 Burchard de Volder
 4 Cartesian ‘Rationalism’
 5 Balthasar Bekker’s Cartesianism
 6 Bekker on Traces and Testimony
 7 Conclusion

6 The Waning of the Radical Enlightenment and the Rise of Dutch Newtonianism
 1 The Second Stadholderless Period
 2 Isaac Newton
 3 Early Dutch Newtonianism
 4 Physico-Theology
 5 Newtonians at Leiden and Utrecht

7 The Return of Rationalism
 1 The Restoration of the Stadholderate
 2 Wolffians at Groningen and Franeker
 3 Wolffian Natural Law
 4 The Rule of Reason
 5 Conclusion

8 Frans Hemsterhuis: The Philosopher as Escape Artist
 1 ‘Frisian Socrates’
 2 Hemsterhuis and Rousseau
 3 Hemsterhuis and Winckelmann
 4 Conclusion: Frans Hemsterhuis and the Dutch Enlightenment

9 The Batavian Revolution
 1 Aan het volk van Nederland
 2 The Orangist Response
 3 Revolution
 4 Philosophy?
 5 A Failure to Launch: Dutch Kantianism

10 Tolerating Turks? Perceptions of Islam in the Dutch Republic
 1 Dutch Diversity
 2 Pirates and Pilgrims
 3 Playwrights and Professors
 4 A Radical Alternative

11 The Rise and Fall of Dutch Cosmopolitanism
 1 Dutch Proto-Cosmopolitanism
 2 The Recovery of a Moral Imperative
 3 Defining Dutch Philosophy and the Limits of Enlightenment

12 Eighteenth-Century Censorship of Philosophy
 1 Silencing the Radicals
 2 Post 1747
 3 Fighting Off Foreigners

13 Spinoza’s Life: 1677–1802
 1 Introduction
 2 The Sources
 3 Toland to Voltaire on the Virtuous Atheist
 4 Wolff to Jacobi and Stijl to Collot d’Escury
 5 Conclusion
All interested in the history of early modern philosophy and the Dutch Republic, the Enlightenment, Bayle, Cartesianism, Newtonianism, Wolffianism, Kantianism, and Cosmopolitianism
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