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Call for Papers: Causa sive ratio: causality and reason in modernity between metaphysics, epistemology and science

Call for Papers: Causa sive ratio: causality and reason in modernity between metaphysics, epistemology and science

14-16 November 2017, Università degli Studi di Milano

Submission deadline: 15 June 2017

Confirmed keynote Speakers
Jeffrey Mcdonough (Harvard U.)
Katherine Brading (Duke U.),
Angela Breitenbach (Cambridge U.)
Walter Ott (U. of Virginia)
Ansgar Lyssy (LMU München)
Hylarie Kochiras (IAS Bologna)
Andrea Sangiacomo (U. Groningen)

Organizers : Tzuchien Tho, Stefano Di Bella

The very advent of modernity in philosophy could be interpreted through the lens of the fundamental redefinition of causality in the ontological, epistemological and logical separation of cause from reason. From the rejection of formal and final causes in the generation of Descartes and Gassendi, the debates on these questions in the period of Hobbes, Spinoza and Leibniz, to the phenomenalization of causation in Hume and its subsequent idealization in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, we can see the definitive conceptual separation between logical implication, epistemic explanation and physical causation. It is this historical conceptual transformation and its present consequences that is the object of this conference.

What does this separation between cause and reason mean for the role of rationality, the property of intelligibility and the ontology of grounding in the development of metaphysics and the foundations of science in the 17th and 18th century? How do the emergent concepts of the general laws of nature and universally conserved physical magnitudes harmonize the rationality of nature and the uniqueness of causes in a new cosmology? What becomes the status of the self-caused? How does the early modern rejection of formal and final causes return, in other guises, and transform the semantic content of physical theories? How does the identity or distinction of reason and cause continue to inform contemporary philosophy?

The aim of this conference is to explore the distinction (and relation) of cause and reason from a historical examination of early modern philosophy and science while engaging with the contemporary debates surrounding grounding, causation and scientific explanation. Aside from paper presentations by invited and selected speakers, short reading groups of primary source texts (relevant to the presentations) will be led by conference organizers and invited speakers.

We invite papers addressing these problems of reason and cause based on historical studies and contemporary problems. We are particularly interested in papers that are able to connect 17th and 18th century thinkers with contemporary issues in metaphysics and philosophy of science. However, papers focusing on these issues contextually based in the 17th and 18th century are also enthusiastically welcomed.

Presentations are planned to be 45 minutes, leaving 15-20 minutes for discussion.

Please submit an abstract of 500 words, including the title of the presentation, to easychair. The abstract should be prepared for blind review. We welcome Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars as well as more established colleagues.

Notification of acceptance by 30 June 2017

For more information, see the conference website.

Please direct any futher questions to Tzuchien Tho.


Call for Abstracts: Conceptions of Experience in the German Enlightenment between Wolff and Kant

Call for Abstracts: Conceptions of Experience in the German Enlightenment between Wolff and Kant

University of Leuven, February 24-25, 2017

Submission deadline: October 15, 2016

Confirmed keynote Speakers
Christian Leduc (Montréal)
Arnaud Pelletier (Brussels)
Anne-Lise Rey (Lille)
Udo Thiel (Graz)

Organized by Karin de Boer (University of Leuven) and Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (University of Bucharest)

The purpose of this conference is to analyze the various conceptions of experience at play in eighteenth-century German philosophy between Leibniz’s death in 1716 and Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. During this period, the classical Aristotelian definition of experience as cognition of singulars – to some extent still present in Wolff – became confronted with the Baconian and Newtonian accounts of empirical knowledge. In the decades before the mid-century, the views of Locke and Hume, as well as French sensualism and materialism, complicated the prevailing German perspective on experience even more: the notion of empirical or ‘historical’ knowledge became linked to experiment and observation, investigations into perception and sensation took center stage, and ‘inner experience’ grew into a widely discussed topic.

The Berlin Academy, through the prize-essay contests it organized and the writings of its members, importantly contributed to the dissemination of Newtonianism and empiricism. Yet while most philosophers acknowledged the fundamental role of experience, they tried to accomodate the modern notions of experience to a view of cognition and science influenced by Wolffian metaphysics. The question as to the contribution of foundational metaphysical principles and empirical data to scientific knowledge was much discussed, as was the relationship between inner and outer experience, experience and thought, experience and judgment, experience and facts, experience and perception, experience and experiment, and perception and apperception.

Challenging the historiographical opposition between empiricism and rationalism, the conference aims to explore the often ambivalent or fluid conceptions of experience at work in these debates, as well their influence on disciplines such as psychology and aesthetics. Whereas all contributions relevant to these topics are welcome, we are particularly interested in contributions on the conceptions of experience elaborated by members of the Berlin Academy and by participants in the contests initiated by this institution.

The conference aims at stimulating fruitful exchanges between established scholars, junior researchers, and PhD students. Presentation time will be 25 minutes + 20 minutes for discussion.

Abstracts (of no more than 500 words) should be sent in MSWord as attachment to

Abstracts should be prepared for double-blind review by removing any identification details. The author’s name, paper title, institutional position and affiliation, as well as contact information, should be included in the body of the e-mail.

Notification of acceptance by November 15, 2016.


Workshop: Early Modern Experimental Philosophy, Metaphysics, and Religion

Workshop: Early Modern Experimental Philosophy, Metaphysics, and Religion

University of Warwick, 10-11 May 2016

Keith Allen (York), Cavendish on Colour and Experimental Philosophy
Peter Anstey (Sydney), Experimental Philosophy and Corpuscular Philosophy
Philippe Hamou (Paris-Ouest Nanterre), John Locke and the Experimental Philosophy of the Human Mind
Dana Jalobeanu (Bucharest), Francis Bacon’s ‘Perceptive’ Instruments
Dmitri Levitin (Oxford), Metaphysics, Natural Philosophy, and the Soul: Rethinking Kenelm Digby’s Philosophical Project
Elliot Rossiter (Concordia), From Natural Philosophy to Natural Religion: Teleology and the Theologia Rationalis
Tom Sorell (Warwick), Experience in Hobbes’ Science of Politics
Alberto Vanzo (Warwick), Experimental Philosophy and Religion in Seventeenth-Century Italy
Koen Vermeir (Paris-Diderot), Magnetic Theology
Catherine Wilson (York), What was Behind the Rejection of Hypotheses in Newtonian Science

The full programme is available on the workshop webpage:


– Full fee excluding workshop dinner (includes two buffet lunches and coffee breaks): £20
– Discounted fee excluding workshop dinner: £10
– Full fee including workshop dinner: £49
– Discounted fee including workshop dinner: £39
The discounted fee is available to students, under-employed recent postgraduates and unemployed.

To register, please email first to ensure that spaces are still available and, if so, please send a cheque, payable to the University of Warwick, to Dr Alberto Vanzo, Department of Philosophy, Social Sciences Building, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL.

Registration closes on Monday 25th April. You are advised to register early as space is limited.


Childcare support
We hope to provide some financial support to those who would like to attend, but require childcare. If you are interested, please email


Accessibility information
Available at


We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Aristotelian Society, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the British Society for the History of Science.

CFP: ‘Feeding on the nectar of the gods’: Appropriations of Isaac Newton’s thought, ca. 1700-1750

CFP: ‘Feeding on the nectar of the gods’: Appropriations of Isaac Newton’s thought, ca. 1700-1750

Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 5-6 July 2016

University Foundation
Egmontstraat 11 Rue d’Egmont
B-1000 Brussels, Belgium

The conference theme is the diffusion of Newton’s thought during the first half of the eighteenth century across Europe. The seeming ease with which Newton’s ideas were diffused has long been described as self-evident. State-of-the-art research has, however, shown that the spread and success of Newton’s corpus was far from obvious. More particularly, it has been suggested that the successful diffusion of Newton’s ideas was not merely determined by the obvious merits of the scientific claims which Newton developed in his two major works, the Principia (first edition: 1687) and the Opticks (first edition: 1704), but also by local factors and contexts, such as inter alia: (a) already established scholarly and educationally dominant traditions or systems; (b) theological and religious fractions, sensibilities, and worldviews; and (c) metaphysical and methodological orientations. Seen from this perspective, if we want to fully understand the successful spread of Newton’s ideas, we need to take into account the multifarious ways in which his ideas were appropriated in order to meet local ‘needs’. At the same time, we need to pinpoint the characteristics of those very ideas in virtue of which they could be successfully ‘exported’ to different intellectual and scientific hubs across Europe. The scientific committee welcomes presentations that contribute to our understanding of the spread of Newton’s thought across Europe from approximately 1700 to 1750.

Abstracts of approximately 500 words should be sent to the conference chair Prof. Dr. Steffen Ducheyne by 24 April 2016. Decisions will be made shortly thereafter. There will be room for 12 contributed presentations (20-22 minutes for the actual presentation + 10-8 minutes for Q&A). Abstracts will be evaluated anonymously by the scientific committee according to the following criteria: 1. quality, 2. relevance to the conference theme, and 3. capacity to engender a diverse coverage of the diffusion of Newton’s thought.

Keynote Speakers
Marta Cavazza (Universita di Bologna)
Tamas Demeter (Hungarian Academy of Science)
Steffen Ducheyne (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Mordechai Feingold (Caltech)
Niccolo Guicciardini (Universita degli Studi di Bergamo)*
Rob Iliffe (University of Oxford)
Scott Mandelbrote (University of Cambridge)
Stephen D. Snobelen (University of King’s College)

* Lecture sponsored by Belgian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science.

More information here.

Conference: Experimental Philosophy Through History

Experimental Philosophy Through History

A one-day conference at New York University on February 20, 2016

Contemporary work in experimental philosophy investigates the relationship between empirical methods and philosophical questions. However, there is a rich history of thinking through the general issues surrounding armchair and experimental approaches to philosophy; for instance, such projects can be found in 19th century philosophy, early modern philosophy, and classical Chinese philosophy.

To explore these topics and philosophical questions at the intersection of experimental philosophy and history of philosophy, we will host a one-day conference. The conference will be held at New York University on February 20th, from 10:00 AM to 6:15 PM. The conference features six presentations, each with a paired commentary. Further information can be found here.  Please direct any questions to:

Peter Anstey (The University of Sydney)
discussion by Stephen Darwall (Yale University)

Scott Edgar (Saint Mary’s University)
discussion by John Richardson (New York University)

Alex Klein (California State University)
discussion by Henry Cowles (Yale University)

Hagop Sarkissian (Baruch College, CUNY)
discussion by Stephen Angle (Wesleyan University)

Kathryn Tabb (Columbia University)
discussion by Don Garrett (New York University)

Alberto Vanzo (University of Warwick)
discussion by Alison McIntyre (Wellesley College)

CFP: An Interdisciplinary Master class on the Nature and Status of Principles in Western Thought

An Interdisciplinary Master class on the Nature and Status of Principles in Western Thought

15–18 March 2016

Eligibility: Graduate students and post-doctoral researchers
Maximum attendance:  15 (selected by application)
Organisers: Dr Dana Jalobeanu (Director, IRH-UB) and Prof Peter Anstey (Sydney University)
Invited speakers: Dr Vincenzo de Risi (Max Planck Institute, Berlin) and Dr Aza Goudriaan (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam)

The purpose of this interdisciplinary master class is to examine the nature and status of principles across a variety of disciplinary domains and a variety of historical periods. The concept of principles is almost ubiquitous in Western thought: it is used in philosophy, natural philosophy, ethics, art, mathematics, politics and theology. One only needs to cite some of the canonical works of early modern philosophy, natural philosophy or art to appreciate the centrality of the notion: for example, Descartes’ Principia philosophiae (1644), Newton’s Principia (1687) and Taylor’s New Principles of Linear Perspective (1719). Yet to date there are few if any systematic treatments of the subject. This master class will address the following questions in relation to classical, Hellenistic, Renaissance and early modern thought:

  • Which disciplines appealed to principles?
  • What sorts of principles did they deploy?
  • How does one get epistemic access to these principles?
  • And what roles did principles play in the period and discipline under scrutiny?
  • How does the use of principles vary across disciplines and across historical periods?
  • Is the principles concept stable or subject to change?
  • Is there a typology of principles?
  • What is the relation between principles, axioms, hypotheses and laws?

The master class will include lectures, reading groups and seminars, as well as more informal activities (tutorials, and discussions). The master class will be set within the interdisciplinary environment of the Institute of Research in the Humanities, University of Bucharest. It aims to bring together up to fifteen post-docs and postgraduate students from different fields and willing to spend four days working together within the premises of the Institute, and under the supervision of experts in the field. The master class will also benefit from logistical support of CELFIS (Center for the Logic, History and Philosophy of Science), Faculty of Philosophy. Each student attending the master class will have the opportunity to give a twenty-minute presentation on the final day. Student contributions are voluntary.

How to apply
In order to apply for the master class send a CV (maximum 2 pages) and a short letter of intention to Dr Mihnea Dobre ( by 30 January 2016. The final list of participants will be announced on the website of the institute by 5 February 2016.

There is no registration fee.


HOPOS 2016 Call for Submissions


June 22-25, 2016, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


Keynote Speakers

Karine Chemla (REHSEIS, CNRS, and Université Paris Diderot)
Thomas Uebel (University of Manchester)


The International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science will hold its eleventh international congress in Minneapolis, on June 22-25, 2016. The Society hereby requests proposals for papers and for symposia to be presented at the meeting. HOPOS is devoted to promoting research on the history of the philosophy of science. We construe this subject broadly, to include topics in the history of related disciplines and in all historical periods, studied through diverse methodologies. In order to encourage scholarly exchange across the temporal reach of HOPOS, the program committee especially encourages submissions that take up philosophical themes that cross time periods. If you have inquiries about the conference or about the submission process, please write to Maarten van Dyck: maarten.vandyck [at]


To submit a proposal for a paper or symposium, please visit the conference website:

CFP: Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science

A colloquium at the Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Bucharest & The Center for the Logic, History and Philosophy of Science, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest:


CFP: Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science

6th-7th November 2015


Invited speakers:

Daniel Garber (Princeton University)
Paul Lodge (University of Oxford)
Arianna Borrelli (Technical University, Berlin)


We invite papers by established and young scholars (including doctoral students) on any aspects of early modern philosophy/early modern science. Abstracts no longer than 500 words, to be sent to Doina-Cristina Rusu ( ) by September 10. Authors will be notified by September 15.



Dana Jalobeanu ( and Doina-Cristina Rusu ( ).


More details:




Master-class: Isaac Newton’s Philosophical Projects

A master-class at the Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Bucharest:


Isaac Newton’s Philosophical Projects

6th-11th October 2015


The purpose of this master-class is to discuss and to set in context some of Newton’s philosophical, scientific and theological projects. It aims to address a number of well-known (and difficult) questions in a new context, by setting them comparatively against the natural philosophical and theological background of early modern thought. By bringing together a group of experts on various aspects of Newton’s thought with experts on Descartes, Bacon and Leibniz, the master-class facilitates interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary perspectives

The activities of the master-class will consist of lectures, reading groups and seminars, as well as more informal activities (tutorials, and discussions). The master-class will be set within the interdisciplinary environment of the Institute of Research in the Humanities, University of Bucharest. It aims to bring together 15 students (post-docs and graduate students) coming from different fields and willing to spend 5 days working together within the premises of the Institute, and under the supervision of leading experts.


Invited speakers:

Rob Illiffe (Sussex), Niccolo Guicciardini (Bergamo), Andrew Janiak (Duke University)



Dana Jalobeanu, Kirsten Walsh


To participate:

There is no participation cost, but there are limited places available.  In order to apply for the master-class send a CV and a letter of intention to Dana Jalobeanu ( by August 15, 2015. The final list of participants will be announced on the web-site of the institute by August 30, 2015. If you want to present a short paper in the master-class, please send an extended abstract (no longer than 800 words).


More details:





Workshop: The Experimental Philosophy, the Mechanical Philosophy, and the Scientific Revolution

A one-day workshop at the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University:

The Experimental Philosophy, the Mechanical Philosophy, and the Scientific Revolution

9:30am-5:30pm, Thursday 5th June 2014


The Scientific Revolution is often presented as involving the replacement of an Aristotelian world view by the Mechanical Philosophy. Another common theme is that central to the Scientific Revolution is a special emphasis on empirical observation and experiment as providing the basis for science, a theme often captured by the phrase ‘The Experimental Philosophy’. In the seventeenth century and thereafter, the terms ‘The Mechanical Philosophy’ and ‘The Experimental Philosophy’ were sometimes taken to be synonymous. If the Mechanical Philosophy is interpreted as an encouragement to search for explanations that appeal to mechanisms, as in the workings of a clock, then a close link with experiment seems plausible. On the other hand, if that philosophy is understood as a change in the ultimate ontology of the material world, with the replacement of Aristotelian forms by nothing other than moving corpuscles of matter possessing shape and size, then a link with experiment is less plausible. The aim of this workshop is to explore the range of theses that were involved in the Mechanical and Experimental Philosophies, and to explore the relationship between them.


Speakers and titles:

Prof. Alan F. Chalmers (University of Sydney) ‘Qualitative Novelty in Seventeenth-Century Science: Hydrostatics from Stevin to Pascal’.

Prof. Robert Iliffe (University of Sussex) Title to be confirmed

Prof. David M. Knight (Durham University) ‘Clockwork, Chemistry and the Scientific Revolution’.

Mr. Thomas Rossetter (Durham University) ‘No Mechanism for Miracles: John Keill vs. the World Makers’.

Dr. Sophie Weeks (University of York) ‘Experiment and Matter Theory in the Work of Francis Bacon’.

Prof. David Wootton (University of York) ‘In Defence of the Mechanical Philosophy’.


The workshop is open to all but there are limited places available so please email to reserve a place.

There will be a registration fee of £10 to cover lunch and refreshments.