Presented by the Hall Center for the Humanities
“Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic”
America’s founders intended to liberate us not just from one king but from the ghostly tyranny of supernatural religion. Drawing on the study of European philosophy, philosopher Matthew Stewart tracks the ancient, pagan, and continental ideas from which America’s revolutionaries drew their inspiration. In the writings of Spinoza, Lucretius, and other great philosophers, Stewart recovers the true meanings of “Nature’s God,” “the pursuit of happiness,” and the radical political theory with which the American experiment in self-government began. Stewart is also the author of The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World (Norton, 2006) and The Management Myth: Debunking the Modern Philosophy of Business (Norton 2009). He graduated from Princeton University 1985 with a concentration in political philosophy and was awarded the Sachs Scholarship from Princeton for study at Oxford University, where he earned a D.Phil. in philosophy in 1988.