Abstract: In this paper I study some crucial stations in the complex story of the rehabilitation of the notion of actual infinity, from Aristotle, through Crescas, Spinoza, Hegel, and Cantor. Among other things I attempt to clarify Cantor’s significant engagement with Spinoza’s text, and Cantor’s view of Spinoza’s advocacy of actual infinity as partly inspiring and partly proving a challenge to his own invention of transfinite numbers.
Bio: Yitzhak Y. Melamed is the Charlotte Bloomberg Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University. He works on Early Modern Philosophy, German Idealism, Medieval Philosophy, and some issues in contemporary metaphysics, and is the author of Spinoza’s Metaphysics: Substance and Thought (Oxford 2013), and Spinoza’s Labyrinths (Oxford, forthcoming). Currently, he is working on the completion of a book on Spinoza and German Idealism, and on an introduction to Spinoza’s philosophy.