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Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza; early modern philosophy; British empiricism, especially Locke, Hume, Rousseau.
Professor Curley is best known for his work on Spinoza. He published the first volume of his edition of Spinoza's collected works in 1985 and is currently working on the second volume; he has also written two books on Spinoza (Spinoza's Metaphysics, Harvard, 1969 and Behind the Geometrical Method, Princeton, 1988) and is working on a third, which will focus on the Theological-Political Treatise. He has written on a wide variety of topics in 17th century philosophy--spanning metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of religion, moral philosophy and political philosophy, and dealing with the other major figures of the period (Descartes, Hobbes, Locke and Leibniz) in addition to Spinoza. Notable here are his book Descartes Against the Skeptics (Harvard, 1978) and his edition of Hobbes' Leviathan (Hackett,1994).
Currently he is most interested in the history of early modern political theory, the development of heterodox religious ideas, and the associated development of the ideal of religious toleration. These interests have led him to expand into the 16th and 18th centuries, with work on Montaigne and Montesquieu. He is a past president of the American Philosophical Association, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of fellowships from the NEH, the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Humanities Center.
May 31, 2010 Retirement Memoir
Medieval and Early Modern Studies
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