(EN) Spinozalens, een onderscheiding voor denkers over ethiek

The Spinozalens

Since 1999, the International Spinoza Award Foundation has awarded a biennial prize to world-renowned thinkers who deal with ethics and society. Those eligible are internationally renowned scientists, philosophers and writers who have made their mark researching society’s ethical principles.

The prize consists of a sculpture and a sum of €10,000. A special publication giving an introduction to the laureate’s work is also presented at the ceremony.


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Martha Nussbaum laureate Spinozalens 2022

Michel Foucault laureate of 2021


Next year, the American philosopher Martha Nussbaum will be honored with the Spinozalens 2022. This was announced on 24 november 2021 by Prof. Jet Bussemaker, chairwoman of the jury and former Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and ScienceNussbaum will be honored for her contribution to ethical reflections on the theme of health, risk and society. As always, the members of the Spinozalens jury also chose to honor a historical thinker as laureate for 2021: the French philosopher Michel Foucault. He will be honored with educational material, wich will be released at the beginning of 2022.


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Bruno Latour Lecture and Spinozalens 2020 award ceremony

On November 23rd 2020, Spinozalens laureate Bruno Latour will give a live-streamed lecture for Radboud Reflects. The following day Femke Halsema, the Mayor of Amsterdam, will award Latour the Spinozalens 2020 in an online ceremony. Both events will be available to watch on YouTube.

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Spinozalens 2020 awarded to French philosopher Bruno Latour

On the 21st of November the International Spinozaprijs Foundation announced the laureates for 2019-2020. The French philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour (1949) will receive the Spinozalens 2020 on November 24, 2020. British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) will be honoured with an educational brochure for secondary education. The Foundation revealed the two laureates’ names during a meeting in the official residence of the mayor of Amsterdam.

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Edward Said

(1935 - 2003)

The Palestinian Edward Said spent his childhood in Jeruzalem and Cairo. He recieved his scientific training in America and taught as professor at the Columbia University in New York. Central theme in Said's thinking is the influence of colonialism on western thought regarding the Orient. 

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Avishai Margalit


Avishai Margalit lives in Jeruzalem and works there as professor of Philosophy at Hebrew University. In recent years he has mainly been busy with political philosophy. In his thinking he, in a surprising way, uses the notion of decency as a measure for civilization/culture. He examines concrete situations where people are humiliated, and demonstrates how showing respect helps towards creating a decent society. 

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Tzvetan Todorov


Tzvetan Todorov was born, as he puts it, at the worst time of the 20th century in communist Bulgaria: “the year that the pact between Germany and the Soviet Union was made, that (...) Stalin and Hitler shook each others hand.”. In 1963 he flees communism and settles in Paris, but totalitarian society will continue to be one of his major politcal themes. 

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Donna Dickenson


Born in New England in 1946, Donna Dickenson obtained her BA in Political Science from Wellesley College and her MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics. After leaving the United States in protest against the Vietnam War, she settled in England, where her son and daughter were born. In addition to her academic posts, she has worked in a court reform project in New York City, a futurology institute, and the main New York newsroom of the Associated Press. 

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Michael Walzer


Michael Walzer (New York, 1935) is one of the most prominent political thinkers of our time. He has published innumerable books and articles about the duties of politics, about nationality and ethnicity and about economic justice in the welfare state. H

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Richard Sennett


Richard Sennett was born in Chicago in 1943. He grew up in the Cabrini Green Housing-project, one of the first multi-ethnic social housing projects in the United States. As a six-year-old he started studying the piano and the cello and worked with Frank Miller of Chicago Symphony and Claus Adam of the Julliard Quartet. Sennett was one of the last students of the conductor Pierre Monteux. In 1963, a hand injury meant a sudden end of his musical career. He then turned to academics.

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau

('departed thinker' 1712 - 1778)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was selected within the theme ‘democratie in opspraak’ (‘compromised democracy’). This French philosopher’s thoughts about a state that is structured to take care of its people without taking away their freedom, constituted a new movement. Rousseau’s legacy forms the basis for a discussion about democracy. We created an educational introduction for secondary and higher education, which can be ordered by schools from the Internationale Spinozaprijs Foundation free of charge. Others interested in this content may download it under the ‘Activities’ tab.

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Pierre Rosanvallon


Pierre Rosanvallon is one of today’s most important and diverse political thinkers. In addition to the position of Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), he has held the Chair of Modern and Contemporary History of Politics at the Collège de France since 2001. He also plays a leading role in the political debate, for instance through the think-tank La République des Idées, established in 2002, to which the website La Vie des Idées (www.laviedesidees.fr) was added in 2007.

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Immanuel Kant

('departed thinker' 1724 – 1804)

In the last two centuries, few thinkers have left a mark as clear as Immanuel Kant. Kant’s works, especially his Critique of Pure Reason (1781 and 1787), brought about a philosophical upheaval as important as the political changes caused by the French revolution of 1789. The thinkers who became the mouthpieces of our time – like Schopenhauer, Heidegger, Wittgenstein and Lyotard- confirmed that our world only became truly modern with Kant’s ideas.

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Susan Neiman


American moral philosopher Susan Neiman (1955) is director of the Einstein Forum research institute in Potsdam. She studied philosophy at Harvard University as well as Berlin’s Freie Universität and was an Associate Professor at Yale University and Tel Aviv University.

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Hannah Arendt

('departed thinker' 1906-1975)

Hannah Arendt is one of the twentieth century’s most important political thinkers. The German-Jewish philosopher was born in 1906 and grew up in in Königsberg. She studied philosophy under Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers. When the Nazi regime came to power, she fled via Paris to the United States, where she lived until her death in 1975.

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Kwame Anthony Appiah


Kwame Anthony Appiah (1955) is a British-Ghanaian philosopher and writer. A son of Ghanaian politician Joe Appiah and children’s book writer Peggy Cripps, he was born in London but spent his childhood in Ghana. He returned to the United Kingdom to study. He earned his Ph. D. in philosophy at Clare College, Cambridge University.

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Jan Patočka

('departed thinker' 1907 - 1977)

Foto: Jindřich Přibík

Jan Patočka was born in Bohemia in 1907. He died in Prague in 1977, forty years ago. He is considered one of the most important Czech philosophers, and one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century in Central Europe.  Patočka´s main themes are subject body, human community, and the  understanding of "world."

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Dominique Moïsi


Dominique Moïsi is an influential French-Jewish political scientist and an acclaimed expert on international relations.  In Paris, the city where he lives, he is connected to the Institut Montaigne; and he is co-founder of the  Institut français des Relations Internationales.  Recently, he has been visiting professor at Harvard University and  King’s College in London. He is also author of several widely acclaimed books. The most well-known, The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World, has been translated in Dutch.

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Alan Turing


Alan Turing is considered the father of computing. During the Second World War he secretly built a machine that could be used to crack the German Enigma code; this forerunner of the computer saved countless numbers of lives. Turing was also one of the first scholars to question the relationship of humans with digital machines.

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Bruno Latour


Bruno Latour is one of the first thinkers to have considered technology as a social factor. According to Latour, technology, like science, is not morally neutral. Not only are users responsible for the technology they choose, but creators and producers also have a certain moral responsibility. During the early 1990s Latour was also one of the first thinkers to discuss the topic of sustainability.


The notion that nature has a voice of its own that needs to be heard in a modern democratic society is one of Latour’s most innovative thoughts, which has resulted in a completely different relationship to plants, animals and everything that is not human.

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Sponsors 2021-2022

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Information for sponsors, foundations and individuals

Both public and private funding support the Internationale Spinozalens Foundation.

In 2008, the Tax Authority granted the Foundation an ANBI status, which means that the foundation can get exemptions for donations and inheritances. It also means that individuals can get gift deductions when filing income tax. This also applies to companies' corporate taxes.

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