Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science 2016


Sunday, 23rd of October

19:00 Welcoming cocktail (Casa Universitarilor, Dionisie Lupu 46)


Monday, 24th of October (IRH-ICUB, Dimitrie Brandza 1)

09:15-09:30 Opening Address

09:30-10:30 Keynote lecture: Florike Egmond (Leiden University), The rise of fieldwork as an investigative method in the natural sciences of the 16th century

10:30-10:45 Coffee break

10:45-11:30 Raz Chen-Morris (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Reading, Observing and the Making of Knowledge: The Case of Kepler’s Optics

11:30-12:30 Keynote lecture: Iordan Avramov (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), Friendly Jokes, Stinging Irony, and Bitter Sarcasm: Varieties of Humor in the Correspondence of Henry Oldenburg

12:30-14:00 Lunch break

14:00-14:45 Dolores Irizzo (University College London), The Origins of Experimental Philosophy and Bacon’s Medical ‘Histories of Man’ at the Royal Society 1663-1750

14:45-15:00 Coffee break

15:00-15:45 Monica Ugaglia(Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa), The First Experimental Treatise on Magnetism

15:45-16:30 Laura Georgescu (Ghent University), Instruments, phenomena and the practice of “magnetical philosophy”

16:30-16:45 Coffee break

16:45-17:30 Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest), Science and the Art of Thinking

17:30-18:30 Keynote lecture: Andreas Blank (University of Paderborn & Bard College, Berlin), Confessionalization and Early Modern Natural Philosophy

19:30 Dinner


Tuesday, 25 Oct. 2016 (IRH-ICUB, Dimitrie Brandza 1)

09:45-10:45 Keynote lecture: Gideon Manning (Claremont Graduate University), Mixed Signals: Descartes’s Nerves, Regius’s Slugs, and the Origins of ‘Experimental Philosophy’

10:45-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-11:45 Fabrizio Baldassarri (Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv), Mechanizing the vegetative soul. Descartes and Digestion

11:45-12:30 Balint Kekedi (University of Aberdeen), The Linguistic Model of Perceptual Cognition and the Role of the Passions in Cartesian Natural Automata

12:30-14:00 Lunch break

14:00-14:45 Sandra Bihlmaier (Karslruher Institute of Technology), Philipp Melanchthon on Argumentation and Style: Dialectics and Rhetorics as the Tools of Clear Reasoning

14:45-15:00 Coffee break

15:00-16:00 Keynote lecture: Raphaële Garrod (CRASSH and Newnham College, University of Cambridge), Natural History in Early Modern France: The Poetics of an Epistemic Genre?

18:00 Conference Dinner


Wednesday, 26 Oct. 2016 (IRH-ICUB, Dimitrie Brandza 1 and Faculty of Philosophy, Splaiul Independentei 204)

09:45-10:45 Keynote lecture: Arianna Borrelli (Technical University Berlin), The rare and the dense in Bernardino Telesio’s meteorology

10:45-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-11:45 Kirsten Walsh (University of Nottingham), Newton’s Corpuscular Scaffolding

11:45-12:30 Cornelis J. Schilt (University of Oxford), Navigating the Continuum Isaac Newton’s many Ways of Knowing

12:30-14:00 Lunch break

14:00-14:45 Doina-Cristina Rusu (University of Groningen), Francis Bacon on the interactions between pneumatic and tangible matter

14:45-15:00 Coffee break

15:00-15:45 Mihnea Dobre (University OF Bucharest), Ways of connecting Bacon and Descartes: Medicine and Experimentation

15:45-16:30 Oana Matei (University of Bucharest and Vasile Goldis University of Arad), Perception of plants: Ralph Austen’s appetitive matter theory

16:30-16:45 Coffee break

16:45-17:30 Dana Jalobeanu (University of Bucharest), Francis Bacon on the “power of perception”

17:30-18:00 Coffee break

18:00-19:00 CELFIS/ Keynote lecture: Mordechai Feingold (California Institute of Technology), Who Was the Experimental Philosopher? Reflections on the Origins of Practice

19:30 Dinner

Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy (16th edition)


This gallery contains 3 photos.

The Architecture of Reason: Laws, Axioms and Principles in early modern thought July 12- 16, 2016, Alba-Iulia, Romania Invited speakers: Peter Anstey (IRH-ICUB & University of Sydney), Catalin Avramescu (University of Bucharest), Alexander Baumgarten (UBB Cluj), Delphine Bellis (Radboud University, … Continue reading

Baconian Themes in Natural and Moral Philosphy

Invited speakers: Peter Anstey (University of Sydney & University of Bucharest), Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest), Mihnea Dobre (University of Bucharest), Dana Jalobeanu (University of Bucharest), Silvia Manzo (University of La Plata & Technical University Berlin)

Organizer: Doina-Cristina Rusu (University of Bucharest), dc.rusu@yahoo.com



9:30-10:00 – Coffee and Welcoming address

10:00-11:00 – Silvia Manzo, Natural Philosophy, jurisprudence and laws of nature in Francis Bacon

11:00-12:00 – Dana Jalobeanu, Reconstructing Francis Bacon’s natural history: Sylva Sylvarum in the seventeenth century

12:00 -12:30 – Coffee break

12:30-13:30 – Mihnea Dobre, Bacon, Descartes and “the new science”

13:30-15:00 – Lunch break

15:00-16:00 – Peter Anstey, Hume’s experimental moral philosophy

16:00-17:00 – Sorana Corneanu, Genius and Experiment: Echoes of the Sylva in the Later Eighteenth Century

17:00-17:30 – Concluding remarks

18:30 – Dinner


 Location: Seminar Room, Institute for Research in the Humanities,

University of Bucharest, 1 Dimitrie Brandza Street


afis april 1-page-001

Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science 2015

Last week, on 6 and 7 November, our research group co-organized with the IRH-UB the 6th edition of the Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science. The event marked a good opportunity to bring to Bucharest scholars working on different aspects of the early modern experimentation. During these two days of intensive discussions about early modern natural philosophy, we explored several important themes, such as the role of illustrations in early modern scientific writings; the interaction between mathematics, experiments, and philosophical principles; the role of early modern women in the dissemination of the new science; various aspects of a number of important figures, such as Newton, Leibniz, Descartes, Maupertuis, Spinoza etc. Most of the participants in the Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science were from other countries, as only 3 out of 16 speakers were affiliated to institutes in Romania. It is worth emphasizing the international aspect of the event, because one of the important outcomes was to strengthen some of the collaborations between the members of the Romanian team and our colleagues from other universities. During the past few days, we opened the way of future collaboration and the possibilities of building together research projects at European and international level. We can only hope that our future events organized in the research project “From Natural History to Science: the emergence of experimental philosophy” will build upon the success of the 6th edition of the Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science.


Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science 2015



Institute for Research in the Humanities


Center for Logic, History and Philosophy of Science, Faculty of Philosophy




6-7 November

This is the fifth edition of the Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science to be held at the University of Bucharest.

Invited speakers: Daniel Garber (Princeton University), Paul Lodge (University of Oxford), Arianna Borrelli (Technical University, Berlin).


November 6, Institute for Research in the Humanities (Dimitrie Brandza str. 1)

9:30 Opening Address, Dana Jalobeanu (Director, IRH)

10:00 – 11:00 Keynote Speaker: Arianna Borrelli (Technical University Berlin) Diagrams as “paper tools” in Della Porta’s optics

11:00-11:20 Coffee break

11:20-12:00 Lucie Čermáková (Charles University, Prague) Searching for “the causes of plants” in the sixteenth century – the case of Adam Zalužanský ze Zalužan

12:00-12:40 Stefano Gulizia (City University of New York) A 1509 List of Euclid Aficionados: Antiquarianism and Early Science in Sixteenth-Century Venice

12:40-14:40 Lunch break

14:40-15:20 Laura Sumrall (University of Sydney) “A Violent Guest”: Demons, Disease, and the Necessity of Magic in Jan Baptista van Helmont’s Medicine

15:20-15:40 Coffee break

15:40-16:20Michael Deckard (Lenoir-Rhyne University & University of Bucharest) Margaret Cavendish as Paradigm Shifter: A Case Study in Perception

16:20-17:00 Melissa Lo (The Huntington Library) Twists of Realism: Cartesianism naer het leven in Wolferd Senguerd’s Philosophia naturalis (1680)

17:20-18:00 Kirsten Walsh (University of Bucharest) Experiment and Observation in Newton’s Opticks

18:00-18:40 Ori Belkind (Tel Aviv University) Newton’s Method of Induction and Hume’s Problem of Induction

19:30 Dinner


November 7, Faculty of Philosophy (Splaiul Independentei 204)

9:30 – 10:30 Keynote Speaker: Paul Lodge (University of Oxford) True and False Mysticism in Leibniz

10:30-10:50 Coffee break

10:50-11:30 Andrea Strazzoni (Erasmus University Rotterdam) Physics, Metaphysics and Method in the Philosophy of Burchard de Volder

11:30-12:10 Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter (NRU-HSE, Moscow) The Knowability of Nature between Clauberg and Wolff: Cartesianism, Eclecticism, and the Epistemic Scope of Natural Philosophy and Mathematics

12:10-14:00 Lunch Break

14:00-14:40 Norman Whitman (Rhodes College, Memphis) Finalism in Spinoza’s Physics?

14:40-15:20 Vincent Legeay (CHSPM, Paris 1) Spinoza’s memoria ordinis against Descartes’ reminiscientia dei

15:20-15:40 Coffee break

15:40-16:20 Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (University of Bucharest & IZEA Halle) Physics and Metaphysics in Maupertuis

16:20-17:00 Marco Storni (École Normale Supérieure, Paris) Maupertuis’s Argument for Newtonianism

17:00-17:20 Coffee break

17:20-18:20 Keynote speaker: Dan Garber (Princeton University) “As Time Goes By”: Leibniz on Space, Time and the Composition of the Continuum

19:30 Dinner

CFP Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science

November 6-7, 2015
Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Bucharest
& The Center for Logic, History and Philosophy of Science, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest

Invited speakers:
Daniel Garber (Princeton University)
Paul Lodge (University of Oxford)
Arianna Borrelli (Technical University, Berlin)

We invite papers by established and young scholars (including doctoral students) on any aspects of early modern philosophy/early modern science. Abstracts no longer than 500 words, to be sent to Doina-Cristina Rusu (dc.rusu@yahoo.com ) by September 10.  Authors will be notified by September 15.

Contacts: Dana Jalobeanu (dana.jalobeanu@celfis.ro) and Doina-Cristina Rusu (dc.rusu@yahoo.com)

Finding a Path Through the Woods

In December, some of our team members (Dana Jalobeanu, Oana Matei, Doina-Cristina Rusu and Claudia Dumitru) attended Finding a Path through the Woods, a two-day conference on Sylva Sylvarum in Paris, organized by Dana Jalobeanu and Koen Vermeir. The event was one in a series of seminars and workshops on Sylva that started in Princeton in 2012 and will be continued with a meeting in Berlin in March 2015.

The most important result of this meeting was putting together a preliminary list of topics or problems that could form the core of a volume of scholarly articles on Sylva Sylvarum. The reading groups were particularly helpful in this respect. You can see most of the issues discussed by our team at the second reading group of the conference, on spirits and pneumatic substances in Sylva, in this post. We also had a chance to meet the French team translating Sylva Sylvarum (Claire Crignon, Sylvia Kleiman), who contributed to the first reading group.

Doina-Cristina Rusu and Claudia Dumitru also presented papers at this conference. Doina talked about Francis Bacon’s use of sources, expanding on his famous metaphor about ants, spiders and bees. By analyzing some of the material in Sylva Sylvarum in relation with its sources (Giambattista della Porta and Hugh Platt), she tried to show that Bacon follows his own methodological injunctions and, far from simply lifting material from others, he reflects on it critically and transforms it. That would mean that the bee (who digests and renders useful the stuff it feeds on) is a symbol not only for philosophy, but also for natural history undertaken philosophically. Claudia talked about a specific set of experiments from Sylva Sylvarum – those dealing with sounds. She tried to show how one problem that was vital to the Aristotelian background theory, that of the irreducibility of sound to motion, shapes much of Bacon’s inquiry in Sylva and arguably puts him against the dominant trend in the later part of the seventeenth century.


Workshop: History and Philosophy of Early Modern Experimentation


Our team – in collaboration with the New Europe College (via the ERC Starting Grant “Medicine of the Mind in Early Modern England”) – is organizing a workshop on the history and philosophy of early modern experimentation. The workshop is to take place at the Faculty of Philosophy (Splaiul Independentei 204) on November 27 2014. The full programme is below.


9:30 Opening remarks

09:40-10:40 Dana Jalobeanu (University of Bucharest) – Francis Bacon on the Experimental Construction of Space

10:40-10:50 Coffee Break

10:50-11:50: Cornelis J. Schilt (University of Sussex) – “Elected by God”: Isaac Newton’s Early Optical Publications and Alchemical Secrecy

11:50-12:00 Coffee Break

12:00-13:00 John Henry (University of Edinburgh) – The Only Game in Town? Why Did Early Modern Reformers of Natural Philosophy Turn Almost Exclusively to the Occult to Replace Scholasticism?

13:00-15:00 Lunch

15:00-16:00 Oana Matei (University Vasile Goldis, Arad & University of Bucharest) – Ralph Austen’s Observations and the Use of Experiment

16:00-16:10 Coffee Break

16:10-17:10 Arianna Borrelli (Technical University Berlin) – Experiment Description and Concept Formation in Giovanni Battista Della Porta’s Writings

17:10-17:20 Coffee Break

17:20 Cesare Pastorino (Technical University Berlin) – Accounting and Early Modern Experimental Reporting: A Few Preliminary Notes

The Bucharest Graduate Conference in Early Modern Philosophy 2014 – Programme

Here is the programme for this year’s edition of the Bucharest Graduate Conference in Early Modern Philosophy, to be held at the Faculty of Philosophy (Splaiul Independentei 204 – see on a map) on 28-29 November 2014.

afis bucharest graduate 5th

Friday, November 28

9.00-9.30: Opening address, coffee

9.30-10.30: Invited talk: John Henry (University of Edinburgh) – The Newtonian Moment: How Action at a Distance Became Part of Mainstream Physics (Uniquely) throughout the Long Eighteenth Century.

10.30-10.40: Coffee Break

10.40-11.20: Niels Martens (University of Oxford): Against Comparativism about Mass

11.20-12.00: Ovidiu Babes (University of Bucharest) – The Role of Demonstration in Descartes’ Early Works
12.00-13.40: Lunch

13.40-14.20: Andrei Nae (University of Bucharest) – The Therapeutic Function of Education in Bacon and Locke

14.20 – 15.00: Alexandra Bacalu (University of Bucharest) – Remedies Using the Imagination and the Passions in Early Modern Thought

15.00-15.20: Coffee Break

15.20-16.00: Anna Ortin (University of Edinburgh) – Hume, the Problem of Content, and the Idea of the Identical Self

16.00-16.40: Julieta Vivanco Undurraga (University of Navarra) – Contractualism, Representation and Natural Rights in Samuel Pufendorf

16.40-16.50: Coffee Break

16:50-17.50: Invited talk: Doina-Cristina Rusu (University of Bucharest) – Forms and Laws of Nature in Francis Bacon’s Natural Philosophy.

Saturday, November 29

9.30-10.30: Invited talk: Arianna Borrelli (Technical University Berlin) – Notions of “Spirit” and the Conceptualization of Experience in Early Modern Natural Philosophy

10.30-10.40: Coffee Break

10.40-11.20: Maike Scherhans (University of Oradea) – “What does it look like?” – Thomas Sydenham, John Locke and the Observational Method

11.20-12.00: Xinghua Wang (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) – Locke on Personal Identity

12.00-13.40: Lunch

13.40-14.20: Claudia Dumitru (University of Bucharest) – Locke and the Artificial Language Movement

14.20 – 15.00: Toth Oliver Istvan (Central European University) – The Role of Inherence in Spinoza’s Ethics

15.00-15.20: Coffee Break

15.20-16.00: Filip Buyse (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University) – Spinoza and the Laws of Parts which Adapt Themselves to the Laws or Nature of Other Parts

16.00-16.40: Sean Winkler (University of Leuven) – The Relationship between Spinoza’s Physics and his Doctrine of Conatus

Naturalism: Cardano, Telesio, and Bacon


Some notes on the reading group Naturalism: Cardano, Telesio, and Bacon (Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, Bran 8-13 July 2014).


Proponents: Daniel Garber, Mihnea Dobre, Doina-Cristina Rusu.

The reading group examined some of the views of Girolamo Cardano, Bernardino Telesio, and Francis Bacon. We selected passages from Cardano’s De subtilitate (book II), Telesio’s On the nature of things (chaps. 8-16), and Bacon’s Sylva (experiments 30-32, 800-830) and the Novum Organum II. From the point of view of our research project, From Natural History to Science: the emergence of experimental philosophy, this was very important as it put in comparison Bacon’s views with some of his sources. We were especially interested in exploring the views of the three philosophers with respect to spirits, qualities, principles, and elements. We discussed the relation between heat, fire, and motion. Further, we compared the nature of air and the notion of “perception” in the three philosophers, asking how this would entail more experimental possibilities.

Our discussion was framed by the cosmological views of Cardano and Telesio. In Cardano, we were interested in his tripartite division of the elements (earth, air, and water) and what would be the status of fire (seen as a quality) in this new cosmological image. Cardano’s investigation of fire and his attempt to provide new experimental techniques for studying it allowed us to raise one of the main questions of the Bucharest-Princeton Seminar; namely, what “naturalization” means? Is this a worthy concept to describe the various attempts of early modern philosophers to pursue a more systematic empirical investigation of nature?

With Telesio we turned to explore the nature of air as the intermediate medium between the sky and the earth. We addressed the problem of how heat and cold act in the world and cause all the phenomena, and we opened the question of subtlety in experimental context. This question was further addressed in the case of the passages selected from Francis Bacon. His use of the weather-glass for exploring the effects of air and heat was discussed in the selected passages. The issue of measurement and how to perform accurate observations with the instruments was singled out in our discussion.