Academic Philosophy Events in the Netherlands
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Colloquium Geschiedenis van de Filosofie
17 October 2019 @ 15:00 - 17:00
Divisibility and Impenetrability from Telesio to Conway”
dr. Doina-Cristina Rusu
(University of Groningen)
Iedereen is welkom!
All are welcome!
Datum en tijd: Donderdag 17 oktober 15:00-17:00 uur
Plaats: van Ravesteynzaal, Kromme Nieuwe Gracht 80 (1e verdieping), Utrecht
Our most common understanding of spiritual matter in the early modern period is that of an immaterial, indivisible, and penetrable substance, much like Henry More’s spirit with which he replaced Descartes’s mind situating it in a religious and Neoplatonist framework. In this presentation I want to challenge this view and show that the notion of spirit has a much broader application in early modern natural philosophy, metaphysics and medicine. Not only were spirits material, but also divisible, and impenetrable. The much forgotten majority position of early modern thinkers was indeed building upon the ancient concept of pneuma and in particular Galenic medicine. I will focus on Bernadino Telesio, Francis Bacon and Anne Conway, whom I take to be the most influential philosophers of the yet to be written “history of spirits.” Telesio was the first one – at least in the first edition of his De Rerum Natura– to reduce the soul to spirit, and make it material. Bacon in turn based his scientific method on experimenting with spirits, the active entities residing in all bodies. In opposition to More, Conway constructs her monist vitalism on the idea that everything, including gross matter, is spirit.
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