Masterclass “Humanist and Scholastic Roots of Early Modern Philosophy”

After a successful first edition in 2018, Professor Lodi Nauta and colleagues offer the opportunity to (R)MA/PhD students to participate in an unique masterclass which will examine the legacy of what we term late-medieval and Renaissance thought in early-modern philosophy.

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The rise of early modern philosophy and science continues to be one of the most fascinating chapters in the history of Western thought. Scholars have slowly begun to appreciate the complicated lines of transmission of ideas and knowledge throughout a period traditionally divided into (late-)medieval, Renaissance and early modern. Rather than debating what is typically medieval or typically Renaissance, recent scholarship tries to transcend chronological boundaries, considering the time between roughly 1400 and 1700 as one long period rather than as three consecutive periods with uncertain and essentially contested beginnings and endings. Scholars focus not only on what is new in the seventeenth century but also on how this new thinking by self-styled novatores was rooted in earlier scholastic and humanist traditions. The traditional story of a gradual, linear replacement of one paradigm of thinking (Aristotelian scholasticism) by another (mechanistic philosophy) is now rejected as simplistic. Even in the seventeenth century Aristotelian scholasticism was certainly not always a retarded, conservative force but could challenge the new philosophy in interesting ways. Moreover, while often downplayed as mere men of letters, humanists not only uncovered the heritage of classical Antiquity, thereby vastly expanding the philosophical horizon, but they also had convictions and ideas that were anything but philosophical neutral. Arguably, their ideas about language, culture and history laid the foundation for textual and Biblical criticism associated with the Early Enlightenment (another controversial concept of periodization). More generally, their critique of scholastic thought and language was a critical factor in the slow demise of a once powerful paradigm, and as such repeated and developed by early-modern philosophers. In short, the legacy of what we term late-medieval and Renaissance thought in early-modern philosophy is a rich and vastly complicated object of study. This workshop will examine some key examples of this legacy, focusing on natural philosophy, psychology (in particular theories of sense perception), metaphysics, and language and argumentation.

Course information
The masterclass is organized by Lodi Nauta (RUG). The dates are 19-24 April 2022. It consists of 4 days of reading and discussing texts in the morning and excursions in the afternoon. This is followed by a weekend of self-study and the writing of a first draft of the essay. The final essay will be submitted after the stay in Rome.

Active contribution to discussions, and a final essay, to be submitted after the stay in Rome.

Course language

The workshop is open to a maximum of 15 selected students in philosophy or intellectual history at (R)MA or PhD-level.

Tuition is free for selected participants. Dutch participants may be eligible for KNIR bursaries covering all expenses (see “Bursaries”). Other participants are required to cover their stay in the KNIR at their own expenses.

Selected participants from KNIR partner universities (Universiteit van Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Universiteit Leiden, Universiteit Utrecht, Radboud Universiteit, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) are eligible for KNIR bursaries, comprising all expenses related to the workshop (tuition, lodging in Rome, conference fees, etc.). Personal expenses, including meals, are not included. Students receive a €100 reimbursement of their expenses for travelling to Rome after a successful completion of this Masterclass.

Applications are welcome until 7 March 2022. Notice on acceptance will follow before 15 March 2022. This will include information on the selection for KNIR bursaries. Candidates can apply by filling out the application form below, submitting a motivation letter, a recent CV and an updated overview of study results.

Facilities in Rome
All participants will be housed at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome’s Villa Borghese Park. From there, it is only a short walk to the historical centre of Rome. The KNIR accommodation consists of shared bedrooms and bathrooms, and includes a living and dining space, a large kitchen, washing machine and wireless internet. All residents have 24/7 access to the library and gardens of the Royal Netherlands Institute.

More info
Phone: (+39)063269621