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Dean Lodi Nauta about the Spinoza Prize

The Faculty of Philosophy warmly congratulates Professor Pauline Kleingeld on winning the NWO Spinoza Prize. We are immensely proud of her. As world-leading Kant scholar, whose scholarship has made a huge impact on her field, she fully deserves this prestigious award. It is, once again, a confirmation of the exceptionally high standards of the research of the Faculty as a whole, witness the highest possible scores it recently received from an international research committee. It is also the second Spinoza Prize awarded to the Faculty. We are very happy for Pauline.

Why did Professor Pauline Kleingeld win the Spinoza Prize?

Pauline Kleingeld is an internationally leading historian of Western philosophy as well as an ethical theorist who has made ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of the ideals of the Enlightenment – especially moral universalism, human dignity, autonomy, free will, progress, and cosmopolitanism. Kleingeld’s widely acclaimed success has been to set these notions on a new footing, strongly motivated and inspired by the ethical and political thought of Immanuel Kant, universally considered to be one of the most important but also most difficult philosophers of all time. By tapping into the resources from Kant’s immense oeuvre, she has provided an innovative interpretation and re-evaluation of Kant’s ethics and political philosophy. A unique feature of her work is thus to bring history to bear on modern debates on the legacy of the Enlightenment . A superb example is her prize-winning book on the Enlightenment ideal of cosmopolitanism. But Kleingeld is not blind to the limits of the Enlightenment: the ideals of fraternity and equality did usually not include women and so-called ‘non-white races’. Her diagnosis of this racist and sexist bias in past thought is another highly influential and much-quoted contribution. Kleingeld has thus become a leading voice in Kantian scholarship and ethics.

Last modified:19 June 2020 08.16 a.m.
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