Colocviul internaţional Francis Bacon and the Medicine of the Mind (New Europe College)

Lect.dr. Dana Jalobeanu vă invită să participaţi la colocviul internaţional
Francis Bacon and the Medicine of the Mind care va avea loc între 13-15
mai 2010 la Colegiul Noua Europa
. Invitaţi:Peter Harrison (Oxford University), Guido Giglioni (Warburg Institute), Koen Vermeir (CNRS Paris), Dana Jalobeanu (Universitatea Bucureşti), Sorana Corneanu (Universitatea Bucureşti), Joseph Wolyniak (Oxford University), Doina Cristina Rusu (Universitatea Bucureşti).

Programul manifestarii:

Francis Bacon and the Medicine of the Mind

Stoic Protestantism in Late Renaissance England

First Workshop of the ERC Starting Grant MOM

New Europe College, Bucharest

13-15 May 2010

This is the first of a series of 5 workshops and colloquia organized as a part of the 5 years ERC Grant ‘Medicine of the mind in early modern England’ by Guido Giglioni (Warburg Institute), Dana Jalobeanu (University of Bucharest) and Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest).

Thursday, 13 May: Papers

9-9.30 Short presentation of the project (Guido Giglioni, Sorana Corneanu, Dana Jalobeanu) over coffee

9.30-11.00 Peter Harrison, Francis Bacon and the Fruits of the Cultivation of the Mind

11.00-12.30 Dana Jalobeanu, Empirical aspects of medicina mentis: ‘Stoic’ natural histories of mind and body in late 16th century

12.30-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.30 Guido Giglioni, Tacitean Stoicism or Stoic Tacitism? On Bacon’s Reception of Stoic Ideas and Its Context

15.30-17.00 Sorana Corneanu, Bacon on the ‘End of Knowledge’ and the Reconfiguration of Learning in the Late Renaissance

17.00-18.30 Round-up discussion

Friday, 14 May: Papers and Panel discussion: Bacon and the imagination

9.30-11.00 Koen Vermeir, Bacon’s magician: projection and imagination

11.00-12.30 Doina Cristina Rusu, Imagination – Fascination and Prolongation of life

12.30-14.00 Lunch

14.00-18.00 Panel discussion on selected texts (Bacon on imagination)

Saturday, 15 May: Panel discussion: French Protestants and Neostoicism

9.30-12.30 Panel discussion on selected texts (La Primaudaye, Du Plessis Mornay, Goulart, Wright)

12.30-14.00 Lunch

Descriere:

Francis Bacon and the Medicine of the Mind

Stoic Protestantism in Late Renaissance England

First Workshop of the ERC Starting Grant MOM

New Europe College, Bucharest

13-15 May 2010

This is the first of a series of 5 workshops and colloquia organized as a part of the 5 years ERC Grant ‘Medicine of the mind in early modern England’ by Guido Giglioni (Warburg Institute), Dana Jalobeanu (University of Bucharest) and Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest). Our aim is to provide a historically and conceptually more nuanced understanding of Bacon’s natural philosophy. We will address a number of questions that, although well-known to the student of Bacon’s work, need to be re-examined against the background of cultural contexts which escape our modern disciplinary divisions. One such context is represented by the cluster of disciplinary practices and discourses that Bacon himself, in the Advancement of Learning, called the ‘medicining of the mind’.

The medicina mentis context

Medicina mentis (‘medicine of the mind’, alternatively called ‘spiritual physicke’ or cultura animi) was a common occurrence at the turn of the sixteenth century, widely used by philosophers, medical doctors and theologians to designate various forms of training, discipline and therapy for the embodied mind. It was the subject of types of popular treatises which defy our canonical disciplinary boundaries and which were variously classified as anatomies of the mind (and body), consolation literature, moral philosophy, Neostoic literature, books on self-fashioning or self-help, controversialist literature, etc.

In response to the generic and disciplinary specificities of this literature, we mean to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to traditional fields of knowledge (such as medicine, natural philosophy, rhetoric, theology, ethical, political and religious controversialist literature) and to look at their disciplinary boundaries as permeable rather than as rigid professional and institutional divisions. Between the sixteenth and the seventeenth century, the interrelations between medicine, natural philosophy, religion and rhetoric produced new clustering bodies of knowledge that proved to be particularly effective in bringing forth new ideas and interpretative practices. It is our purpose to show both the limits of received taxonomies and the advantages of looking for connections rather than divisions.

The medicina mentis perspective

Disciplines dealing with the medicine of the mind presupposed an embodied view of the life of the mind, in which the soul and the body were seen as working together towards the attainment of forms of practical wisdom based on regimens of life, cures for the passions and methods for disciplining one’s own thought—precisely the ideal of the soundness of mind and body hinted at by Bacon in his Novum Organum and other works. The motivations that underlay such methods of self-diagnosis, self-prognosis and self-therapy could range from the achievement of earthly happiness to spiritual salvation. While the general background of the medicine of the mind was eclectically philosophical and theological, the emphasis on practicality and feasibility was meant to avert the danger of falling into the (‘fruitless’) speculative abstractions typical of contemporary philosophical and theological systems.

At least some of the treatises dealing with the medicine of the mind advocated certain forms of the study of nature as supplementing other more traditional forms of therapy. Following the respectable (Roman) Stoic tradition, a wide range of authors emphasized the moral and therapeutic benefits of reading the Book of Nature or of following the ‘School’ of Nature. Natural history and natural philosophy were therefore assigned increased moral value.

It is in this context, we argue, that a thorough revaluation of Francis Bacon’s projects for the reformation of learning—both his plans for a new scientia de homine and his more general vision of the Instauratio Magna—may be fruitfully pursued.

Workshop 1

The Neostoic Protestant Connection

One of the central lines of investigation in our research project concerns the key role played by the revival of Stoic conceptions about matter and life, the natural foundation of social instincts and ethical strategies for the control of the passions. The re-emergence of Stoic philosophical patterns in both moral and natural philosophy proved to be of decisive importance in the context of early modern English medicines of the mind. It has been suggested that, within the Neostoic revival, a distinctly Protestant current developed first in France around the 1570s and then moved to England at the turn of the century. This is the background against which we would like to discuss the topics at the centre of our first meeting in Bucharest. More specifically, we intend to explore the English reception of three important authors: Pierre de la Primaudaye (1543-1628), Phillippe Du Plessis Mornay (1549-1623) and Simon Goulart (1543-1628).

We would like to test the hypothesis that La Primaudaye’s Académie Française (1578, with a second and third augmented editions in French, and a number of successive editions in English before 1600) may have been a crucial source of inspiration for Bacon’s projects for the advancement of learning. We would also like to investigate the possible connections between the Bacon brothers (Francis and Anthony) and Protestant Neostoic authors involved in politics, such as Du Plessis Mornay, to gauge the extent to which Bacon’s philosophical project may owe to his exposure to intellectual circles that were particularly active in promoting forms of Stoic revival. Bacon’s work can thus be seen as representative of the way in which French Protestant Neostoic ideas of moral philosophy were transplanted into England.

Questions

Within this general investigative framework, we would like to focus our attention on a sub-set of questions to be discussed during our workshop, such as:

  1. Possible points of intersections between Calvinism, Stoicism and various forms of medicina mentis in Bacon’s intellectual environment.
  2. New theorisations concerning the fallen nature of the mind and the Christian’s duty to engage in a life of spiritual training and arduous self-scrutiny.
  3. The interplay of Aristotelian and anti-Aristotelian frameworks in the study of nature as they bear on the programme of ‘medicining’ the mind.
  4. The role of original and eclectic theories of the mind and the imagination in outlining new methods for disciplining the passions.

Organisation

The workshop will consist of two days and a half (starting on Thursday morning, May 13, and ending on Saturday afternoon, May 15).

Thursday and Friday morning will be devoted to reading and discussing pre-circulated papers. Each of us will have 45 minutes to present the paper and 45 minutes to engage in discussions with the other participants. The first day will end up with a round-up discussion. We all commit ourselves to circulate our papers at least one week in advance. Papers read, discussed and revised will be later collected for publication.

Friday afternoon and Saturday morning will be devoted to panel discussions centred upon topics and texts proposed in advance: one on Bacon and the imagination, the other on La Primaudaye and Du Plessis Mornay, as well as on influential promoters of Neostoic ideas such as Simon Goulart and Thomas Wright. Our aim is to outline richer interpretative contexts for future, more detailed research, and above all to indulge in inspiring and fruitful brainstorming.

Participants:

Peter Harrison (Oxford University), Guido Giglioni (Warburg Institute), Koen Vermeir (CNRS), Dana Jalobeanu (University of Bucharest), Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest), Joseph Wolyniak (Oxford University), Doina Cristina Rusu (University of Bucharest).

Program

Thursday, 13 May: Papers

9-9.30 Short presentation of the project (Guido Giglioni, Sorana Corneanu, Dana Jalobeanu) over coffee

9.30-11.00 Peter Harrison, Francis Bacon and the Fruits of the Cultivation of the Mind

11.00-12.30 Dana Jalobeanu, Empirical aspects of medicina mentis: ‘Stoic’ natural histories of mind and body in late sixteenth century

12.30-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.30 Guido Giglioni, Tacitean Stoicism or Stoic Tacitism? On Bacon’s Reception of Stoic Ideas and Its Context
15.30-17.00 Sorana Corneanu, Bacon on the ‘End of Knowledge’ and the Reconfiguration of Learning in the
Late Renaissance

17.00-18.30 Round-up discussion

Friday, 14 May: Papers and Panel discussion: Bacon and the imagination
9.30-11.00 Koen Vermeir, Bacon’s magician: projection and imagination

11.00-12.30 Doina Cristina Rusu, Imagination – Fascination and Prolongation of life

12.30-14.00 Lunch

14.00-18.00 Panel discussion on selected texts (Bacon on imagination)

Proposed reading

  • The Advancement of Learning, WFB III, pp 379-383
  • De Augmentis Scientiarum, – the doctrine concerning the Person of Man
    and the League between Mind and Body – the beginning of Book IV, in
    WFB IV, page 372 ff.
  • Sylva Sylvarum century X, century 8, experiments 713-722 and 795 (on passions, imagination and sense)
  • Historia vitae et mortis, OFB XII, 47-48, 230-233 and 264-265

Saturday, 15 May: Panel discussion: French Protestants and Neostoicism

9.30-12.30 Panel discussion on selected texts (La Primaudaye, Du Plessis Mornay, Goulart, Wright)

12.30-14.00 Lunch


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