Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy

Bran, 8–13 July 2014

De rerum natura: Naturalism, Supernaturalism, Unnaturalism


Tuesday, 8 July

9.30 Departure to Bran from Hotel Flowers, Plantelor str. 2, Bucharest

17.00 Arrival in Bran (Vila Andra)

19.00 Dinner

Wednesday, 9 July

10.00-10.40 Enrico Pasini (Turin): The development of physics/philosophy of nature between Copernicus and Galilei

10.55-13.00 Reading group (I): Naturalism: Cardano, Telesio and Bacon

Convenors: Dana Jalobeanu, Doina-Cristina Rusu, Daniel Garber, Mihnea Dobre

Texts: Cardano, De subtilitate II (fragments); Telesio, On the Nature of Things (Chaps. 8-16); Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum, experiments 800-830 (SEH II 602-609), 30-32 (SEH II 351-353); Bacon, Novum organum II (OFB XI 221-253).


  • Section 1

16.00-16.35 Doina-Cristina Rusu (Bucharest): Naturalizing the unnatural in Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum: the power of imagination to create forms

16.50-17.25 Oana Matei (Bucharest/Arad): The use of experiment with plants in Francis Bacon’s Syla Sylvarum V

17.25-18.00 Claudia Dumitru (Bucharest): Sounds and Spirits in Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum


  • Section 2

16.00-16.40 Aaron Spink (South Florida): Descartes: knowing passions and clueless minds

17.00-17.40 Daniel Colette (South Florida): Passions embodied: Descartes’ ethics in the Letters to Elisabeth revisited

Thursday, 10 July

9.15-9.50 Tamàs Pavlovits (Szeged) : La perception de l’infini et la nature de l’esprit chez Descartes

9.50-10.40 Igor Agostini (Lecce): Descartes and More on the infinity of the world

10.55-13.00 Reading group (II): Descartes and supernaturalism

Convenors: Vlad Alexandrescu, Grigore Vida, Daniel Garber

Texts: Descartes to X, September 1629 (AT I 21); to X, early 1638? (Clerselier II 159); to Morin, 12 September 1638 (AT II 365); to Mersenne, 19 June 1639 (AT II 557-558); to Elisabeth, November 1646 (AT IV 531-532); to Mersenne, 25 January 1647 (AT IV 593-594); to Silhon, March or April 1648 (AT V 136-137); Descartes, Cogitationes privatæ (AT X 218); Le Monde (AT XI 443); Principes de la philosophie, art. 187 (AT IX-2 308-309); Annotationes in sua Principia philosophiæ (AT XI 654)


  • Section 1

16.00-16.40 Sarah Ellenzweig (Rice, English): Richard Bentley’s Boyle Lectures and the Epicurean void

17.00-17.40 Veronika Szànto (Budapest): Margaret’s Cavendish’s hierachical vitalism


  • Section 2

16.00-16.35 Ed Slowik (Winona State): The ‘situation’ of the unextended in Leibniz’s immaterialist metaphysics

16.50-17.25 Andrea Strazzoni (Rotterdam): The concept of nature in early modern Dutch philosophy

17.25-18.00 Rodolfo Garau (UniTo/MPIWG Berlin): Gassendi’s experimental naturalization of astrology

Friday, 11 July

9.15-9.50 Olivier Dubouclez (Liège): Fascination as a case of action at a distance in Early Modern science

9.50-10.40 Yitzhak Melamed (Johns Hopkins) and Oded Schechter (Chicago): Spinoza’s anti-Cartesianism

10.55-13.00 Reading group (III): Heaven on Earth: Celestial Virtues in Early Modern Astrology and Alchemy

Convenors:Jennifer Rampling (Princeton), Steven Vanden Broecke (Ghent)

Texts: Basic readings: Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Ia.q105.a3-4; Cornelius Agrippa, On Occult Philosophy, book I (chapter 12-16; chapters 1-11 highly recommended); Pierre Bayle, Various Thoughts on the Occasion of a Comet, selected passages; John of Rupescissa, De consideratione quintae essentiae, selected passages; ps.-Ramòn Lull, Novum Testamentum, selected passages; Additional readings: Cornelius Agrippa, On Occult Philosophy, book III (chapters 3-9); Joshua Childrey, Indago Astrologica, selected passages; John Goad, Astro-Meteorologica, selected passages.


  • Section 1

16.00-16.35: Alison Peterman (Rochester): Spinoza on the common notions

16.50-17.25 Michael A. Rosenthal (Washington): Spinoza on beings of reason

17.25-18.00 Raphael Krut-Landau (Princeton/ENS): Spinoza’s naturalism about the emotions


  • Section 2

16.00-16.40 Charles T. Wolfe (Ghent): Medical Epicureanism and Philosophical Epicureanism: La Mettrie and Diderot

17.00 -17.40 Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (NEC Bucharest): Baumgarten’s conception of the transcendental and its role in Kantian philosophy

Saturday, 12 July

9.15-9.50 Steven Vanden Broecke (Ghent) : L’analyse de Michel de Certeau du croire et les avantages possibles pour l’étude historique des rapports entre la science et la religion

9.50-10.40 Roger Ariew (South Florida): Leibniz and the Petrifying Virtue of the Place

10.55-13.00 Reading group (IV): Naturalism in Spinoza and Leibniz

Convenors:Daniel Garber, Roger Ariew, Yitzhak Melamed, Michael Rosenthal

Texts: Spinoza, Ethics, part I, particularly props. 15&S, 16, 17, 18, 28-33, appendix; part III, pref.; part IV, pref. (note also the version of E1p18 from the Opera Posthuma in a separate file); Spinoza, Short Treatise (KV) I.4; Spinoza, TTP chapt 6, note; Leibniz, “Two Sects of Naturalists”; Leibniz, “On Nature Itself”

16.00-16.40 Peter Anstey (Sydney): Early modern experimental philosophy and the principles of religion

17.00-17.40 Justin E. Smith (Paris) : The Unity of human species in Aristotle, Leibniz and Kant

Sunday, 13 July

9.30 Departure to Bucharest


  • This Seminar is supported by two research grants of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNCS-UEFISCDI, project number PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0998: Models of Producing and Disseminating Knowledge in Early Modern Europe: the Cartesian Framework and project number PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0719: From Natural History to Science: the emergence of experimental philosophy.