upcoming events

Scottish Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy IX


University of Aberdeen 24-25 May 2018

The Sir Duncan Rice Library, Seminar Room 224.

Key note speakers:

Felicity Green (University of Edinburgh)

Martin Lenz (University of Groningen)



Thursday 24 May

9.00-9.15 Coffee and Welcome

9.15-10.00 Brenda Basilico (University of Lille III), “Music, Mathematics, and Skepticism in Mersenne’s Writings”

10.00-10.45 Margaret Matthews (Emory University, Atlanta), “The Place of Skepticism in Montaigne’s Essays.” 

10.45-11.00 Break

11.00-12.00 Key Note Speaker: Felicity Green (University of Edinburgh), “Freedom and Responsibility in Locke’s Account of Belief.”

12.00-13.30 Lunch

13.30-14.15 Raphael Krut-Landau (University of Pennsylvania), “From History to Anagogy: Scriptural Modes of Reading in Spinoza’s Ethics.”

14.15-15.00 Sanja Särman (Hong Kong University), “Don’t Know Yourself – Spinoza and Leibniz on the Advantages of Having an Infinitely Unfamiliar Mind.”

15.00-15.15 Break

15.15-16.00 James A. Harris (University of St Andrews), “Hume on political obligation: between Locke and Filmer.”

16.00-17.45 Jacob Hinze (University of St. Andrews), “Indeterminacies in Locke’s Concept of the State of Nature.” (SSEMP Essay Prize Winner, funded by the BSHP)

Friday 25 May

9.00-9.15 Coffee

9.15-10.00 David Bartha (Central European University), “Two Routes to Idealism: Collier and Berkeley.”

10.00-10.45 Umrao Sethi (Lehman College, CUNY), “Mind-Dependence in Berkeley and the Problem of Perception.”

10.45-11.00 Break

11.00-12.00 Key Note Speaker: Martin Lenz (University of Groningen), “What does it mean to share a view? Hume on the Transmission of Mental States. “

12.00-13.30 Lunch

13.30-14.15 Dino Jakusic (University of Warwick), “Christian Wolff and the Invention of Ontology.”

14.15-15.00 Gaston Robert (King’s College London), “God, Aggregation, and the Collective Unity of All Substances: General Pre-Established Harmony Revisited.”

15.00-15.15 Break

15.15-16.00 Keith Green (East Tennessee State University), “Hatred, Moral Motivation, and ‘Normativity’ in Spinoza and Hume”

16.00-16.45 Gabriel Watts (Oriel College, Oxford), “The Curious Place of Curiosity in Hume’s Theory of the Passions.”


Attendance is free, but registration is mandatory. Please up on Eventbrite: Scottish Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy IX: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/scottish-seminar-in-early-modern-philosophy-ix-tickets-43171342648


Contact: Mogens Lærke: mogenslaerke@hotmail.com

Organisation: Beth Lord (Aberdeen); Mogens Lærke (IHRIM, CNRS, ENS de Lyon)

Funding: Scottish Philosophical Association (SPA) / British Society for the History of Philosophy (BSHP) / University of Aberdeen / IHRIM (CNRS, UMR 5317), ENS de Lyon.



CFP: 5th Finnish-Hungarian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy

Call for Papers

The Fifth Finnish-Hungarian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy

Central European University, Budapest 28–29 May 2018

In a joint effort by philosophers in Finland and Hungary, the Seminar was founded to promote international cooperation among scholars of seventeenth and eighteenth-century philosophy. The previous meeting was held in 2017 in Turku, Finland. This will be the fifth meeting in a continuous series of seminars; for more information, please see the website https://fhsemp.wordpress.com/

We invite prospective participants to send an abstract of about 500 words on any topic in early modern philosophy to fhsemp2018@gmail.com by 15 March 2018.

Completed papers should aim at a reading time of 40 minutes or less. Please note that FHSEMP cannot provide funding for travel or accommodation.

For further information, please contact Mike Griffin at fhsemp2018@gmail.com<mailto:fhsemp2018@gmail.com>.

Organizing and program committee: Mike Griffin (CEU), Vili Lähteenmäki (Helsinki), Judit Szalai (ELTE), and Valtteri Viljanen (Turku).

Yitzhak Melamed at London Spinoza Circle

The London Spinoza Circle welcomes Professor Yitzhak Melamed (John Hopkins University) who will speak on Spinoza’s Mereolgy.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 15th February, 3pm to 5pm,

Room 402, Birkbeck College Main Building, Malet St,  London WC1E 7HX. (Entrance from Torrington Square).



Mereology and the concept of part has a central role in Spinoza’s metaphysics and is closely related to many of his key notions, such as substance, extension, power, infinity, infinite modes, parallelism, adequacy and inadequacy of ideas, destruction, individuals, and singular things [res singulares]. Arguably, the proper elucidation of Spinoza’s mereology is the key to any discussion of the nature of finite things in Spinoza’s metaphysics. Yet, in spite of its importance, the topic has hardly been studied in the existing literature. Paucity of early modern primary sources discussing mereology was never an issue; most of Spinoza’s works include detailed discussions of part and whole. In fact, one of the major obstacles in the study of Spinoza’s mereology is finding a way to ease and reconcile the tensions among various claims of Spinoza, tensions that could be due to local inconsistencies, equivocal use of ‘part [pars]’, or genuine changes in Spinoza’s understanding of parts and wholes. Spinoza developed his philosophy over a period of almost two decades, and it is clear that he kept revising his views, including, as we shall see, some of his mereological assumptions.

In my paper I will attempt to reconstruct the outline of Spinoza’s mereology. In the first part of this paper, I will begin with a preliminary exploration of Spinoza’s understanding of part and whole and attempt to explain Spinoza’s claim that certain things are indivisible. In the second part, I will study and explain Spinoza’s view on the priority of parts to their wholes, and point out the contrast between the whole-part and substance-mode relationships in Spinoza. In the third part I will investigate the termini of Spinoza’s mereology: the largest wholes and the smallest parts (if there are any). In the fourth part, I will attempt to explain and motivate Spinoza’s claim that mereology cuts across the attributes, i.e., the fact that the parallelism among the attributes preserves the same mereological relations. In order to motivate this claim we will have to clarify the relationship between mereology and causation in Spinoza, and explain his notion of “singular things.”

All are welcome and no registration is required.


The remaining meetings for this term are:

March 1st, 2018 – Dr. Daniel Whistler (Royal Holloway, University of London)

3pm to 5pm,  Room B30, Birkbeck College, 30 Russell Square, WC1B 5DT


March 22nd, 2018 – Dr. Alexander Douglas (St Andrews University)

3pm to 5pm,  Room 101, Birkbeck College, 30 Russell Square, WC1B 5DT

Martin Lin at Paris 8

This Thursday Feb. 8th, Professor Martin LIN (Rutgers University) will be at the Université Paris 8 for a talk entitled:

“What are Modes for Spinoza?”

The talk will take place from 18h-20h (room J103) and will be in English. The Université Paris 8 can be accessed with metro line 13. All are welcome, the more merrier!




*JEUDI 08 FÉVRIER 2018, 18H-20H*

*Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, Salle J103*

*Martin LIN*

*« What are modes for Spinoza?** »*

According to Spinoza, every particular finite thing, including human bodies and minds, are modes of a single substance, God or Nature. But what does this curious doctrine mean? On the standard interpretation, modes are properties that inhere in and are predicated of substance. Human bodies and minds, however, are concrete particulars. How could they inhere in and be predicated of anything? In this paper, I argue that Spinozistic modes are not properties. Rather they are dependent concrete objects that inhere in but are not predicated of substance.

Martin Lin is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. He is the author of *Being and Reason: an Essay on Spinoza’s Metaphysics *(forthcoming) and papers about metaphysics and philosophy of mind in the seventeenth century.

*Séminaire International et Interdisciplinaire de Recherches Spinozistes* <http://spinozaparis8.com/> *(intégralité des séances en ligne)*

*Organisé par **Charles Ramond* <charles.ramond@univ-paris8.fr> *et **Jack

Stetter* <jckstetter@gmail.com> *avec le soutien de l’EA 4008 LLCP*.

*Responsable Audio-Vidéo* *Carmen Alves* <cavalcanti.carmen@gmail.com>.

02, rue de la Liberté, Saint-Denis (93). Métro « Saint-Denis Université ».


Entrée libre. Se munir d’une pièce d’identité.

London Spinoza Circle: change of venue

I am sorry that there has been a room change for our next meeting with Christopher Thomas on Thursday 25th January. It will now be held in Room B04, Birkbeck College Main Building, Malet St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX. (Entrance from Torrington Square).

The rooms for the next three meetings have also been changed as follows:

February 15th, 2018 – Prof. Yitzhak Melamed (Johns Hopkins University)

2pm to 5pm,  Room 402, Birkbeck College Main Building, Malet St,  London WC1E 7HX. (Entrance from Torrington Square).



March 1st, 2018 – Dr. Daniel Whistler (Royal Holloway, University of London)

3pm to 5pm,  Room B30, Birkbeck College, 30 Russell Square, WC1B 5DT


March 22nd, 2018 – Dr. Alexander Douglas (St Andrews University)

3pm to 5pm,  Room 101, Birkbeck College, 30 Russell Square, WC1B 5DT



Christopher Thomas at London Spinoza Circle

At the next meeting of the London Spinoza Circle we are pleased to have Dr. Christopher Thomas (Manchester Metropolitan University) who will speak on 

Deriving Culture from Nature: Articulate and Inarticulate Bodies in Spinoza’s Philosophy of Nature.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 25th January, 3pm-5pm in

Room B04, Birkbeck College Main Building, Malet St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX. (Entrance from Torrington Square).


Spinoza’s philosophy is often criticised for lacking a direct consideration of art. According to commentators one of the reasons for this is his strong naturalism. This paper will argue that rather than see Spinoza’s naturalism as reductive in terms of a theory of art and culture, it actually allows for a novel understanding of the work of art as a particularly ‘articulate’ part of nature.

By turning to the two places that Spinoza mentions art in the Ethics–IIIP2Schol and IVP45Schol respectively–, as well as his theory of the sanctity of Scripture in the Theological-Political Treatise, this paper will develop the theory of art and culture that follows from, and is implicit in, Spinoza’s philosophical naturalism.

All are welcome and no registration is required.




Dutch Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy V

Call for Papers

Dutch Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy V (#DSEMP) Utrecht University (NL)

30-31 May 2018


The Dutch Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy brings together advanced students and established scholars to discuss the latest work in early modern philosophy, broadly conceived. Built on the success of the previous

2014–2017 editions, which gathered philosophers from all over the world, the Seminar offers workshop-style collaborations to stimulate scholarly exchange. The language of presentation and discussion is English.


*Keynote speakers*

Professor Christia Mercer (Columbia University)
Professor Karin de Boer (KU Leuven)

*Call for papers*

We welcome abstracts for talks on any topic related to early modern philosophy, broadly understood (roughly the period 1500–1800 CE). We are especially interested in presentations that discuss philosophical issues or works that have received less sustained scholarly attention, including, but not limited to: non canonical authors and traditions, anonymous texts, methodological reflections on doing Early Modern philosophy.

Please submit abstracts (400 words max.) suitable for anonymous review in PDF to our EasyChair page: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=dsemp18

Deadline: 15 January 2018

Decisions will follow by early March. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed. We will send reviewers’ reports with useful feedback on abstracts to all who wish to receive this.

Attendance is free and all are welcome, especially students. No financial assistance can be provided to support travel expenses and accommodation.

Contact Chris Meyns (c.meyns@uu.nl / @chrismeyns) with any questions.

*Co-organizers: *

Andrea Sangiacamo (University of Groningen)
Chris Meyns (Utrecht University)

*The Dutch Seminar is an activity of:*

Department of Philosophy, Utrecht University Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, Utrecht University Groningen Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Thought (www.rug.nl/gcmemt), Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen OZSW Study Group in Early Modern Philosophy

CFA: Philosophy of Mind in Early Modern Philosophy

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Philosophy of Mind in Early Modern Philosophy Conference

April 28 – 29, 2018

Hosted by Princeton University

Submission Deadline: Feb 1st, 2018


We invite graduate students to submit abstracts on any topic at the intersection of early modern philosophy (from Descartes to Hume) and philosophy of mind. Topics include, but are not limited to, the nature of ideas, the development of psychology as a discipline, the faculties, perception, animal cognition, the mind-body problem, personal identity, judgment, the passions, representation, and consciousness. Confirmed invited speakers include Don Garrett (NYU), Gary Hatfield (UPenn), Julia Jorati (OSU), John Morrison (Columbia), Amy Schmitter (Alberta), Galen Strawson (UT Austin), and Shelley Weinberg (Illinois). For more details, please visit the conference’s website: pmemp.net.

Abstracts should not exceed 500 words. They should be prepared for blind review and sent as a PDF file to pmemphilosophy@gmail.com. In a separate PDF attachment, please include your name, academic affiliation, email address, and paper title.

We encourage applications from individuals from historically under-represented groups.

Any questions can be directed to Claudia Dumitru, at cdumitru@princeton.edu, Alejandro Naranjo Sandoval, at ans@princeton.edu, or Domenica Romagni, at domenica@princeton.edu.

Notification of Acceptance by March 1st, 2018

Pantheism and Panentheism workshop

Pantheism and Panentheism Workshop

 Tuesday 28 November, 12.30-5.10pm.

 University of Birmingham, Learning Centre room LG 14. It’s building R28 on the map at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/university/edgbaston-campus-map.pdf

 Philevents page: https://philevents.org/event/show/35762

 Workshop description

 The Royal Institute of Philosophy Birmingham Branch, and John Templeton Foundation-funded Pantheism and Panentheism Project<https://sites.google.com/site/pantheismandpanentheismproject/> at the University of Birmingham will host an informal workshop on pantheism and panentheism.

Pantheism is the view that God is identical with the universe. Panentheism is the view that the universe is part of God. These views are radically different from traditional theism, which says that God is an all-powerful, all-loving creator that is ontologically distinct from the universe. Pantheism and panentheism have a long history since ancient Greece and many prominent philosophers, theologians and scientists—such as Nicholas of Cusa, Baruch Spinoza, John Locke, T. H. Green, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking—have defended or expressed sympathy with them. Yet, there has been very little discussion of these views in philosophy and theology as they have focused nearly exclusively on traditional theism.

 The aim of this workshop is to create opportunities for philosophers to present their latest work on pantheism and panentheism to students and the general public.

 The timetable for the workshop is:

 — 12.30 – 1.50: Yujin Nagasawa (University of Birmingham), “Pantheism, Panpsychism, and Cosmopsychism”

— 1.50 – 2.00: Break

–2.00 – 3.20: Sam Lebens (University of Haifa), “God and His Imaginary Friends: Acosmism, Pantheism and Priority Monism”

— 3.20 – 3.50: Refreshments

— 3.50 – 5.10: Mikael Stenmark (University of Uppsala), “Panentheism and Its Rivals”

 This event is free and open to all.

 Registration is not required, but please let the organisers know if you’re planning to attend, just so that we have an idea of what numbers to expect.


 If you have any questions about the workshop, please feel welcome to contact the organisers:

 — Yujin Nagasawa: Y.Nagasawa@bham.ac.uk<mailto:Y.Nagasawa@bham.ac.uk>

— Nick Jones: n.k.jones@bham.ac.uk<mailto:n.k.jones@bham.ac.uk>



London Spinoza Circle

At the next meeting of the London Spinoza Circle we are very pleased to have Dr Andrea Sangiacomo (University of Groningen) who will speak on Spinoza’s account of common notions and the origin of rational ideas.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 30th November, 3pm-5pm in the Paul Hirst Room, Department of Politics, Birkbeck College, at 10 Gower Street London WC1E 6HJ,


An everlasting controversy in Spinoza scholarship concerns the origin of rational ideas. Two parties have been opposing each other. According to the empiricist approach, ideas of reason somehow derive from imagination, while innatism holds that they are built upon innate ideas. In this paper, I propose a revised version of the empiricist approach that is capable of fully accounting for Spinoza’s position.I argue that reason and imagination express different ways in which the body interacts with external causes. Imaginative ideas are the mental counterpart of interactions based on some form of disagreement in nature between the human body and external causes, while rational ideas based on common notions are the mental expression of agreement in nature between the human body and external cases. This reading of common notions as an expression of some degree of “agreement in nature” (natura convenire) among things leads to appreciate of the often neglected difference between universal and proper common notions, which in turns enables Spinoza to account for different degrees of generality that rational ideas can have.

All are welcome and no registration is required.


Please put these dates of future meetings in your diary.

January 25th, 2018 – Christopher Thomas (University of Aberdeen)

February 15th, 2018 – Prof Yitzhak Melamed (Johns Hopkins University)

March 1st, 2018 – Dr Daniel Whistler (Royal Holloway)

March 22nd, 2018 – Dr Alexander Douglas (St Andrews University)