The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.

 
 


An International Seminar funded by the Australian Research Council

6-8 October 2006 Monash Centre, Prato Italy

Organised by Ian Hunter, Conal Condren, and Stephen Gaukroger

with the assistance of

The Centre for the History of European Discourses, University of Queensland.

 

This seminar is the sequel to a 2004 seminar on the Persona of the Philosopher in Early Modern Europe. (Brisbane 7-8 July 2004, papers forthcoming with Cambridge University Press under the title The Philosopher in Early Modern Europe: The Nature of a Contested Identity). The central theme is continuous: to investigate the manner and extent to which what counts as philosophical knowledge is dependent on the cultivation of a special philosophical persona — a particular way of conducting the self and shaping the intellect — in accordance with the norms or ‘office’ supplied by a particular institutional setting. Investigations of seventeenth-century contexts have revealed the fluid and contested character of various delineations of philosophical personae and offices. Sometimes this fluidity was symptomatic of attempts to disarticulate and/or reconfigure adjacent intellectual fields: Aristotelian natural philosophy and mechanical-experimental physics; court poetics and academic philosophy; naturalistic philosophy and metaphysical theology; ‘Hobbesian’ political philosophy and scholastic political theology; Christian natural law and its civil rival; to mention some of the more significant border regions.

How were these contestations resolved during the following century? Or, if they were not resolved, then in what form were competing conceptions of philosophy and the philosophical persona transmitted into the eighteenth century? These general questions can be put to work in a series of more particular ones: To what extent does the natural scientist remain a philosopher? What is the standing of metaphysicians (Leibniz, Kant, Goethe) who continue to cultivate natural sciences? How do literary, philosophical and political cultures interact within the context of journalism, the republic of letters, and clandestine philosophical societies? What is the significance of attempts to reform philosophy undertaken by historicising ‘civil’ philosophers (Thomasius, Hume, Gibbon)? To what extent does university philosophy remain confessionally divided during the eighteenth century? What were the long-term effects of the ‘eclectic’ attack on scholasticism and metaphysical system-building? To what extent did university metaphysics suffer an eclipse in England just as it was getting a second wind in Germany? To what extent are various (national, regional, confessional) ‘Enlightenments’ rival programs of philosophical reform? What is the impact of the history of philosophy on the cultivation of philosophical personae? These questions can be treated as pointers to the kinds of topics that speakers may develop in their papers.

The seminar will take place over three days, with a planned five papers per day. All sessions will be plenary, with each speaker having a 1 hour slot. We are asking speakers to send full papers for posting on the web-page, by September 1. Where this is possible, permitting participants to read the paper in advance, then presenters will speak to their papers for 15-20 minutes, allowing 40 minutes or more for discussion. Where this has not proved possible, then presenters can read their papers, taking 40 minutes and allowing 15-20 minutes for discussion. It is planned to publish the papers in special journal issues.

The seminar is by invitation, and there will be a small number of places for auditors. Interested auditors should contact Ian Hunter (click here to email)

The conference language will be English.

Conference Program

Speakers and Topics
(Some papers are available for download here)

Titles and Abstracts

Prato Information

Contacts

The Persona of the Philosopher in Eighteenth-Century Europe section

Conference Program

Contacts

For further information please contact: Professor Ian Hunter email:  i.hunter@uq.edu.au Diane Hutton email:  d.hutton@uq.ed...

Prato Information

Prato The city of Prato is located in northern Tuscany only a short distance from Florence.   Please click here for a map of the city centre. &nb...

Speakers and Topics

Thomas Ahnert (University of Edinburgh): Christian Stoicism? The Persona of the ‘Moderate’ Clergyman in the Scottish Enlightenment Conal Condren (University of New S...

Titles and Abstracts

Thomas Ahnert Philosophy and the Character of a Clergyman: “Orthodox” and “Moderates” in the Scottish Enlightenment This paper examines a series of disputes between the so-called “orthodox&rdq...

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