Masterclass Lodi Nauta

Humanist and Scholastic Roots of Early Modern Philosophy

Date: 12 – 19 March 2018

Deadline for applications: 1 February 2018

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 masterclass will examine some key examples of this legacy, focusing on natural philosophy, psychology (the study of the soul and cognition), metaphysics, and language and argumentation.

Course information
The Masterclass is organized in the framework of Lodi Nauta’s Spinoza Prize Project and takes place during Nauta’s stay as Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome. The dates are 12-19 March 2018. It consists of 4 days of reading and discussing texts in the morning and excursions in the afternoon to places in Rome of interest to historians of philosophy. 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 within one month after the stay in Rome.

Prof. dr Lodi Nauta (coordinator; RUG), Dr Han Thomas Adriaenssen (RUG), Dr Davide Cellamare (RU) and Prof. dr Carla Rita Palmerino (RU).

5 ECTS, assigned upon completion of the final essay.

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

Course language

The master class is open to a maximum of 12 selected students in philosophy or history (in particular history of science or history of ideas) at (R)MA or PhD-level, as well as to early career researchers.

Selected participants receive KNIR bursaries, comprising all expenses related to the masterclass (tuition, lodging in Rome, conference fees, etc.). Travel and personal expenses, including meals, are not included. Additionally, selected participants from KNIR partner universities (Universiteit van Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Universiteit Leiden, Universiteit Utrecht, Radboud Universiteit, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) receive a €100 reimbursement of their expenses for travelling to Rome after submission of their final essay.

Applications are welcome until 1 February 2018. Notice on acceptance will follow before 7 February 2018. Candidates can apply by filling out the application form via the link 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