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Tag Archives: CFPs

CFP: Aristotelian Natural Philosophy in the Early Modern Period

From Lucian Petrescu:


The Sarton Centre for History of Science and the Department of Philosophy and Moral Science, Ghent University announces a conference on

23-24 May 2013

with the theme

Aristotelian natural philosophy in the early modern period

Early modern philosophers liked to debate about Aristotle just as much as medieval scholars. They had different sources to fuel their discussions: from the humanist preoccupation with a pristine Aristotle and a purification of a corpus perceived as corrupted to the very medieval doctors that others sought to forget. This conference aims at reconstructing the various ways in which Aristotle’s natural philosophical books were read and used to nourish various philosophical agendas.

We welcome papers on any topic related to late medieval and early modern natural philosophy (roughly 1300-1700) that can contribute to a better understanding of the reception of Aristotle in the period. Papers focussing on the reception of less prominent books of the /corpus aristotelicum/, such as the /Meteorologica/ or the /Parva Naturalia/, are especially welcome.

For paper submissions, please send an abstract of 500 words by *January 15th*, in English or French, to Lucian Petrescu <> and Maarten van Dyck <>.

Invited speakers: Daniel Andersson (Oxford University / Babes-Bolyai University Cluj), Roger Ariew (University of South Florida), Paul Richard Blum (Loyola University Maryland), Helen Hattab (University of Houston), Carla Rita Palmerino (Radboud University Nijmegen).

Contact: Lucian Petrescu and Maarten Van Dyck.

CFP: Early Modern Medicine and Natural Philosophy

Center for the Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh
2-4 November 2012

The aim of the conference is to bring to the fore the medical context of the ‘Scientific Revolution’ and to explore the complex connections between medicine and natural philosophy in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe. Medicine and natural philosophy interacted on many levels, from the practical imperative to restore and maintain the health of human bodies to theoretical issues on the nature of living matter and the powers of the soul to methodological concerns about the appropriate way to gain knowledge of natural things. And issues of life, generation, ageing, medicine, and vital activity were important topics of investigation for canonical actors of the Scientific Revolution, from Boyle, Hooke and Locke to Descartes and Leibniz. Recent efforts to recover the medical content and contexts of their projects have already begun to reshape our understanding of these key natural philosophers. Putting medical interests in the foreground also reveals connections with a wide variety of less canonical but historically important scientists, physicians, and philosophers, such as Petrus Severinus, Fabricius ab Aquapendente, Lodovico Settala, William Harvey, Richard Lower, Thomas Willis, Louis de la Forge, and Georg Ernst Stahl. This interdisciplinary conference will bring together scholars of Renaissance and Early Modern science, medicine and philosophy to examine the projects of more and less canonical figures and trace perhaps unexpected interactions between medicine and other approaches to studying and understanding the natural world.

Submission of extended abstracts for individual paper presentations (limit 30 minutes) are invited. More information is available here.

Confirmed speakers include:
Domenico Bertoloni Meli (Indiana University)
Antonio Clericuzio (University of Cassino)
Dennis Des Chene (Washington University)
Patricia Easton (Claremont Graduate University)
Cynthia Klestinec (Miami University, Ohio)
Gideon Manning (Caltech)
Jole Shackelford (University of Minnesota)
Justin E. H. Smith (Concordia University, Montreal)

CFP: Creative Experiments

From the Zeta Books website:

The Journal of Early Modern Studies is seeking contributions for its second issue (Spring 2013). It will be a special issue, devoted to the theme:

Creative experiments:
Heuristic and Exploratory Experimentation in Early Modern Science

Editor: Dana Jalobeanu

The past decade has seen a renewed interest in multiple aspects of early modern experimentation: in the cognitive, psychological and social aspects of experiments, in their heuristic and exploratory value and in the complex inter-relations between experience, observation and experiment. Meanwhile, comparatively little has been done towards a more detailed, contextual and specific study of what might be described, a bit anachronistically, as the methodology of early modern experimentation, i.e. the ways in which philosophers, naturalists, promoters of mixed mathematics and artisans put experiments together and reflected on the capacity of experiments to extend, refine and test hypotheses, on the limits of experimental activity and on the heuristic power of experimentation. So far, the sustained interest in the role played by experiments in early modern science has usually centered on ‘evidence’- related problems. This line of investigation favored examination of the experimental results but neglected the “methodology” that brought about the results in the first place. It has also neglected the more creative and exploratory roles that experiments could and did play in the works of sixteenth and seventeenth century explorers of nature.

This special issue of the Journal of Early Modern Studies aims to bring together articles devoted to the investigation of particular cases of early modern experiments or early modern discussions of experimental methodology. We aim to put together a selection of interesting and perhaps relevant case studies that would further what might prove to be an interesting line of research, namely the investigation of the heuristic, analogical and creative role of early modern experiments.

JEMS is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal of intellectual history, dedicated to the exploration of the interactions between philosophy, science and religion in Early Modern Europe. It is edited by the Research Centre “Foundations of Modern Thought”, University of Bucharest, and published and distributed by Zeta Books. For further information on JEMS, please visit

We are seeking for articles no longer than 10,000 words, in English or French, with an abstract and key-words in English. Please send your contribution by the 1st of October 2012 to

Workshop: Letters by Early Modern Philosophers

The workshop is part of the 13th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas which will take place in Cyprus on 2-6 July 2012.

The workshop focuses on letters written in the seventeenth century on themes at the border between art, science, and philosophy. A presentation of the workshop topic can be found here.

Abstracts of up to 500 words should be sent to the workshop organiser, Filip Buyse, at

Monthly Update

Hello, readers!

In our monthly updates, we look back at what happened on the blog in the past few weeks and we highlight recent posts, conferences, and upcoming deadlines on early modern experimental philosophy.

Since the last monthly update, we wrote on Wolff’s criticism of Newton‘s hypothesis non fingo, on whether Newton actually feigns any hypotheses and on Tetens’ distinction between experimental and speculative philosophy. We also continued our discussion with Eric Schliesser on experimental vs speculative philosophy. Peter responded to Eric’s first review of our project by distinguishing Baconian and non-Baconian forms of experimental philosophy. Eric expanded on his views on the history of experimental philosophy on the New APPS blog. Then Juan and Eric debated on Newtonianism and anti-Newtonianism in early modern moral philosophy. Many thanks to Eric Schliesser for his stimulating inputs and to Zsolt Almási and Gerhard Wiesenfeldt for their comments on the blog. They are much appreciated.

Juan and Kirsten are giving two papers at the upcoming conference of the New Zealand division of the Australasian Association of Philosophy. The conference is hosted this year by the University of Waikato in Hamilton, and it will run from the 5th to the 9th of December. Both Kirsten and Juan will be talking about topics related to their PhD research. Kirsten’s paper investigates Newton’s first optical paper, and Juan will be talking about Turnbull and the theory of association of ideas. Here are the abstracts:

Hypotheses and Newton’s First Optical Papers (by Kirsten Walsh)

Newton’s famous pronouncement, Hypotheses non fingo, is controversial. Some writers, such as Sabre and Dear, argue that Newton is merely ‘paying lip-service’ to the dominant methodological tradition. Others, such as Janiak, argue that Newton’s anti-hypotheticalism is a polemical device, designed specifically to oppose his Cartesian and Leibnizian critics. I argue that we should take Newton’s pronouncement as a genuine account of his methodology.

I take a fresh look at Newton’s anti-hypothetical stance in light of the role of hypotheses in the Baconian-experimental tradition in which Newton’s early research was conducted. I examine Newton’s earliest publications: his first papers on optics. I argue that Newton is working with a rough but genuine distinction between hypothesis and theory. This distinction is consistent with both the Baconian-experimental method and with his later anti-hypothetical pronouncements.

The Association of Ideas in Hobbes, Locke, and Turnbull (by Juan Gomez)

John Locke added a chapter titled ‘Of the Association of Ideas’ to the fourth edition (1700) of his Essay concerning Human Understanding, which most scholars regard as just an afterthought. However, it has been argued that the theory of association explained in this chapter had a remarkable influence on most thinkers of the Scottish enlightenment, including Hutcheson, Hume, and Hartley, just to name a few. In his inquiry into the development of the theory of association in eighteenth-century Britain, Martin Kallich argues that Locke was not the first thinker in the early modern period to come up with such a theory, since Hobbes had already proposed a similar doctrine in Leviathan. Kallich also thinks that Locke’s originality consists in examining the association of ideas as a “hindrance to right thinking.” Hobbes, on the other hand, has a ‘positive’ representation of the theory. If we accept Kallich’s interpretation, George Turnbull’s description of the theory of association stands as an interesting case; he mentions Locke as one of his main sources, but gives a particularly ‘positive’ version of the association of ideas. In this paper I examine the theory of association in Hobbes, Locke and Turnbull, and argue for two claims: 1.) Kallich’s interpretation is not quite accurate, since Hobbes’ version of the theory of association is not as closely related to Locke’s version as he thinks; in fact, it can’t even be regarded as a proper theory of association 2.) Turnbull’s commitment to the experimental method led him to construct a version of the association of ideas that was the opposite of what Locke meant by ’association’. I will support my claims by showing the similarities and differences in the three versions of the theory, focusing on the difference between ‘natural association’, ‘associated ideas’, and ‘trains of thought’.

Early Modern experimental philosophy on the net:

Upcoming deadlines:

That’s it for this time. Have we missed some event, call for paper, or interesting reading? Would you like us to include your writings or events in the next monthly update? Do let us know! Also, you can subscribe to our mailing list or RSS feed if you would like to be notified of new posts. For more frequent updates, follow us on Twitter. You can “like” us on Facebook by pressing the buttons at the bottom of each post and on our Facebook page if you want. But most of all, thanks for reading and feel free to send us your comments, suggestions, and criticisms.

This coming Monday Kirsten will publish a post on Newton’s views on certainty in natural science. Stay tuned!

Monthly Update: Events, CFPs, and Readings

Hello, readers!

Below is a list of upcoming events, call for papers, recent posts and a journal article of some relevance to early modern experimental philosophy.

Upcoming Events:

Calls for Papers with deadlines in October-November:

  • Annual Conference of the New Zealand Division of the Australasian Association of Philosophy. University of Waikato (New Zealand), 5-9 December 2010. Deadline: 29 October.
  • Hume after 300 Years: The 38th International Hume Society Conference. Edinburgh, 18-23 July 2011. Deadline: 1 November.
  • New York City Workshop in Early Modern Philosophy. New York, 25-27 February 2011. Deadline: 15 November.


Brett Fulkerson-Smith discusses Kant’s “experiment of pure reason” in the last issue of the Kantian Review.

Two reviews relating to the early Royal Society have recently been published: a review of John Gribbin’s book The Fellowship at Some Beans and a review of an exposition on John Aubrey and the roots of the Royal Society in the Times Online.

Here on our blog, we introduced ourselves and our project. We wrote about our research on Newton’s mathematical method and on the experimental method in British moral philosophy, in particular in George Turnbull. We discussed the difference between contemporary and early modern experimental philosophy. We argued that it is better to interpret the history of early modern philosophy in the light of the distinction between experimental vs speculative philosophy, rather than rationalism vs empiricism. In the comments, Neil Rickert, Benny Goldberg and Gary Banham provided valuable suggestions. Thanks!

We did not quite manage to fully convince Eric Schliesser. He discussed our ideas over at It’s Only A Theory.

Have we missed some event, call for paper, or reading? Would you like us to include your writings or events in the next monthly update? Do let us know! Also, you can subscribe to our mailing list or RSS feed if you would like to be notified of new posts. For more frequent updates, follow us on Twitter.

See you next Monday with a post on Christian Wolff vs Isaac Newton on the experimental method.

Conference: The Rise of Empiricism

Sydney, 6-7 September 2010
Darlington Centre, Institute Building boardroom

From the conference website:

Empiricism is often regarded as the characterising feature of modern scientific method, and, in those approaches to psychology and the social and economic sciences that seek to model themselves on successful scientific practice in the physical and life sciences, it often acts as a model of good practice. Yet what is advocated is a very simplified model in which a rarefied notion of method as value-free inquiry is presented as the essence of empiricism. The failings of such a conception have long been evident, but the motivations behind the various forms of empiricism have remained obscure. The conference will explore new avenues to the original form of empiricism and show how it was able to directly engage questions of value in a novel and revealing way, and how its connection with ‘hard’ sciences was not merely to provide a methodological gloss on these, but went to the core of what scientific explanation consisted in.


  • Peter Anstey (Otago University)
  • Millicent Churcher (Sydney University)
  • Stephen Gaukroger (Sydney University)
  • Peter Kail (Oxford University)
  • Rhodri Lewis (Oxford University)
  • David Macarthur (Sydney University)
  • Liam Semler (Sydney University)
  • Dejan Simko (Sydney University)
  • Alberto Vanzo (Otago University)
  • Anik Waldow (Sydney University)
  • Charles Wolfe (Sydney University)

Dr. Anik Waldow
Department of Philosophy, SOPHI
University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Telephone: +61 2 91141245
Fax: +61 2 9351 3918
Email: anik.waldow[at]