Hi, there! I'm Raffi. Welcome to my website. I live in beautiful
Philadelphia, where I teach at the University of Pennsylvania. I
also write about European philosophy's early modern period, roughly
1600 to 1800.
I grew up an hour from New York City and, concurrently, an hour
from the center of London. No surprise, then, that when I became
interested in the history of philosophy, I was drawn to authors who
imagine themselves in multiple worlds.
I went to college at Johns Hopkins. After a year
in the tech-politics scene, I fell in love with teaching and went
off to do a Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton. I’ve been
teaching at Penn since 2015.
You can reach me at email@example.com and follow me
on Twitter and
Here’s my CV.
It’s good for early-career scholars to meet one
another, but the pandemic has made this harder than ever.
That’s why Laura
(Sydney), Domenica Romagni
(Colorado State), and I organized the Early/Early Mixer
, a online
social event for early-career early modernists, in April 2021.
If you would like help organizing an event like this, please feel
free to email me
In June 2020 I gave a talk on Spinoza's imagination
at the Western E-vent in Early Modern Philosophy
organized by Benjamin
- In September 2019 I gave a paper on standpoint
epistemology in Spinoza at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, at the Quebec Seminar in Early Modern
Philosophy, organized by Syliane
Charles and Kim Gladu.
- In my course on modern philosophy (Fall 2018),
students explored the psychological theory of Benedict de
Spinoza with the help of tornado tubes (YouTube).
- I gave a paper, “Scriptural modes of reading in Spinoza’s
Ethics,” at the Scottish Seminar in Early
Modern Philosophy in Aberdeen, May 2018.
In July 2017, Anna Goldfarb interviewed me for Vice Magazine
about the philosophy of heartbreak
In May 2017 I presented a paper, “Spinoza’s Fear of his
Blackness”, at the Canadian Philosophical Association
Congress in Toronto, at the second annual meeting of the Spinoza
Society of Canada organized by
- In the same month I gave a paper, “Spinoza, Lift Operator: Anagogical
Allegory in the Ethics”, at the University of
Auckland (via Skype).
Also in May of that year, I defended my Ph.D. in Princeton’s Department of Philosophy
My research focuses on the philosophy of Benedict de Spinoza
(1623-1677). I am currently writing a book, Spinoza on
Becoming Eternal, about the influence of
Aristotelianism and Platonism on his metaphysics and philosophy
My article “Spinoza's Metaphysics of Time” will appear in A Companion to Spinoza
(ed. Yitzhak Melamed, Blackwell, 2021).
I teach interdisciplinary courses at the University of
Pennsylvania, in the Integrated Studies Program. This program
is based on the idea that people can become bolder, more creative
thinkers by developing fresh, interdisciplinary ways of seeing.
As a postdoctoral teaching fellow in the program, I’ve
team-taught courses that blended philosophical and
neuroscientific perspectives on education and curiosity, as
well as ancient and modern perspectives on rebellion, poverty,
Other courses I've taught at Penn:
Introduction to Modern Philosophy,
Introduction to Ethics,
Ethics and Language,
The Philosophy of Love and Sex,
Philosophy of Science, and
Philosophy of Social Science.
In the spring of 2013, I co-taught a course in literature and political
thought at a New Jersey youth correctional facility.