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About usFaculty of PhilosophyOrganizationDepartment of the History of PhilosophyGroningen Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Thought


Members are affiliated at universities in many countries
Members are affiliated at universities in many countries

Members are committed to contribute to the intellectual life of the Centre, by taking part in the events organized, proposing new activities, and cultivating stable and long-term collaborations.

Members of the Groningen Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Thought are:

Han Thomas Adriaenssen (Faculty of Philosophy, Groningen)

Over the last couple of years, I have been working mostly on medieval and early modern theories of representation and cognition. For the next few years, I’ll be working on a project on early modern Aristotelianism , which will look at the attempts of some Aristotelians to show that hylomorphism and mechanism can and should join forces, thus combining the best of both worlds.

Jean-Pascal Anfray (ENS Paris)

My research focuses on metaphysics and action theory in medieval and early modern philosophy, and in connection with contemporary debates. I have written on time, modality and free will  in Leibniz and scholastic thinkers. More recently, my research has been focused to questions concerning mind’s relation to place and space. In this connection, I am preparing a new translation of the Descartes-More correspondence.

Christian Barth (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

My research interests concern the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and epistemology in early modern and contemporary philosophy. After having finished a book manuscript on intentionality and consciousness in Descartes and Leibniz, my future research on the early modern period will deal with conceptions of receptivity and spontaneity from Descartes to (and including) Kant. In addition, I prepare a book on conceptions of judgment from ancient times to the 20th century.

Klaas van Berkel (Faculty of Arts, Groningen)

My interest in early modern science and philosophy mainly concerns  the rise of the so-called mechanical philosophy in the early seventeenth century. See my 2013 publication Isaac Beeckman on Matter and Motion. Mechanical Philosophy in the Making (Johns Hopkins University Press). One of my current projects is the elaboration of my 2009 Erasmus lectures at Harvard University on Descartes’ Laboratory. Dutch Origins of Modern Science and Philosophy.

Bianca Bosman (Faculty of Philosophy, Groningen)

I am interested in everything ancient and medieval. My current research is in the area of medieval logic, more specifically medieval theories of consequence. Medieval philosophers employ several criteria of validity or goodness for consequences. One of these is called the containment criterion. I study this criterion, starting with its roots in Boethius, all the way up to the fourteenth century, in which it is used most famously.

Laurent Cesalli (Université de Genève )

My research focus is on theoretical philosophy--philosophy of language and mind, metaphysics--in the 12th to 14th centuries: mainly the semantics of propositions and associated issues (theory of meaning, intentionality, objects, and states of affairs). I am also interested in the treatment of the same questions in the Austro-German tradition (mainly in Anton Marty).

Alexandra Chadwick (Faculty of Philosophy, Groningen)

My research focuses on three related themes in early modern philosophy: the implications of ‘materialist’ psychologies for moral and political thought, the legacy of medieval faculty psychology, and ideas of human nature in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I have a particular interest in Hobbes’s natural and civil philosophy, and the relationship between the two.

Thérèse Cory (Notre Dame)

I work on medieval theories of mind and personhood in thirteenth-century thinkers such as Aquinas and Albert, together with their Arabic sources such as Avicenna, Averroes, and the Liber de causis.  My research has focused on themes such self-consciousness (Aquinas on Human Self-Knowledge, Cambridge 2014), attention, imagination, reflexivity and subjectivity, abstraction, and most recently, the metaphysics of mind and immateriality.  I'm also a member of the "Aquinas and 'the Arabs' International Working Group."

Véronique Décaix (Université Paris1-Panthéon-Sorbonne)

My research interests concern theory of knowledge and metaphysics in medieval philosophy. I am currently focusing on intentionality in embodied cognitive processes(such as: sensation, memory, dreams and self-motion) between the Middle ages and Early modern philosophy.

Brian Embry (Faculty of Philosophy, Groningen)

My interests are primarily in early modern scholastic metaphysics and its relationship to "canonical" early modern philosophy. My recent research has focused primarily on the relationship between truth and ontology. This research has led to more recent work on being and ontological priority, and I am also beginning to think about early modern reactions to well known problems with hylomorphism.

Manuel Fasko (University of Zurich)

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Zurich. My research interests primarily concern but are not restricted to early modern philosophy of science, religion and language as well as their intersections. Moreover, I take a special interest in the (argumentative) role of God in either of these areas. In my dissertation I deal with George Berkeley’s conception of nature as a divine discourse.

Gloria Frost (University of St. Thomas in St Paul - Minnesota, US)

My current research focuses on causation in medieval and early modern philosophy.  My work recovers 13th-17th century perspectives on notions such as action, power, causal cooperation, teleology and laws of nature.  A main project is a book on Aquinas’s views on causation.  Other topics I have worked on include truth, modality, and divine concurrence.

Laura Georgescu (Faculty of Philosophy, Groningen)

My philosophical interests are quite broad, but I specialize in the connections between early modern philosophy and science. My work over the last few years was on the investigative practices involved in early research into magnetism and their role in natural philosophy. In my current project, I’m looking more generally at the contrasts and crossovers between the early modern “mechanical” and “non-mechanical” philosophies – specifically, at what we might reconstruct as the metaphysical and the scientific problems that they deal with, and how the relations between these problems play out.

Keith Green (East Tennessee State University)

My work has a thematic focus and a historical focus.  Earlier in my career, my work focused on the study of ethics within the broader interdisciplinary field of religious studies.  My work has  focused more specifically on the moral psychology of hatred (especially in Aquinas and Spinoza), and religious and theological responses to the challenge of naturalism, and especially early modern ‘naturalistic’ theorizing about religion and ethics.

Helen Hattab (University of Houston, USA)

I am the author of Descartes on Forms and Mechanisms (Cambridge, 2009), and articles on various topics including: Descartes; early  modern atomist, mechanical and naturalist philosophies; and late Scholastic Aristotelian theories of  matter, form, causation and scientific demonstration.  My latest work examines the reconceptualization of substantial and formal unity, and its implications for universals from late Scholastics to Spinoza.

Christian Henkel (University of Groningen)

My philosophical interests range over quite a variety of areas, both analytic and continental, past and present philosophy. Besides phenomenology and existentialism, I am mostly interested in metaphysics but with an increasing awareness of themes in natural philosophy. My current research focus is on occasionalism in the 17th and 18th century. I deal mostly with so called non-canonical figures, inter alia Géraud de Cordemoy. I attempt to carve out the context, and the motivation of occasionalism, as well as the arguments used to support it.

Karolina Hübner (University of Toronto)

I am Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of Toronto. My research interests are in the history of metaphysics. I am the author of several articles on Spinoza's philosophy.

Charlie Huenemann (Utah State University)

In my research I try to find a fruitful combination of philosophical analysis with an understanding of historical context. The “great dead” become much more interesting when they are three dimensional! My current project is to understand the motivations behind the great philosophical systems of the 17th century (especially Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, and Leibniz). What were these figures trying to achieve? And why did each think the construction of their own particular system was the best means to that end?

Matthew Kisner (University of South Carolina)

At the most general level, I am interested in the history of ethics and what it has to say to us today. My research focuses, firstly, on Spinoza’s moral philosophy, particularly his theory of freedom and his secularism, and, secondly, on philosophical efforts to articulate the moral value of the passions throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth-centuries. I am currently editing and co-translating a new edition of Spinoza’s Ethics for CUP.

Mogens Laerke (ENS de Lyon)

I am a senior researcher at the CNRS, affiliated at the Institut d'histoire des représentations et des idées dans les modernités (IHRIM) at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. I work on early modern philosophy, especially Leibniz and Spinoza, but am currently embarking on a long-term research project entitled From Utopia to Jerusalem about ecclesiastical policy and church-state relations in early modern philosophy (jus circa sacra) from Thomas More to Moses Mendelssohn. I have published two monographs in French: Leibniz lecteur de Spinoza. La genèse d'une opposition complexe (Paris 2008) and Les Lumières de Leibniz. Controverses avec Huet, Bayle, Regis et More (Paris 2015), and edited or co-edited four volumes:The Philosophy of the Young Leibniz (Stuttgart 2009); The Use of Censorship in the Enlightenment (Leiden 2009); Philosophy and Its History (Oxford 2014);Spinoza/Leibniz. Rencontres, controverses, réceptions (Paris 2014).

Can Laurens Loewe (KU Leuven)

My research so far has focused on Thomas Aquinas's theory of human action, but I have also done research on medieval natural philosophy. In the next three years I will work on a project on theories of causation in the thirteenth and the fourteenth century. The project will focus on the notion of causal power, and its connection with natural necessity and teleology.

Martin Lenz (Faculty of Philosophy, Groningen)

I generally try to connect research on early modern and medieval philosophy with a view to contemporary themes, thus bringing to bear the history of philosophy on current issues and vice versa. Currently, I am particularly interested in issues regarding intersubjectivity, normativity and essentialism.

John Marenbon (Cambridge University)

I teach at Trinity College, Cambridge, with a visiting professorship at Peking University. Within what I call the Long Middle Ages, which stretch up to 1700, I have are varied philosophical interests: logic, the interrelation between traditions (Latin Christian, Arabic, Jewish, Greek), the ‘Problem of Paganism’ (see my Pagans and Philosophers – Princeton, 2015), and the philosophy of mind in connection with metaphysics (my new project: ‘Immateriality, Thinking and the Self’).

Oberto Marrama (Groningen and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières)

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Groningen and at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. My overall research interests concern early modern theories of mind. My current research mainly focuses on Spinoza’s philosophy of mind and the underpinning metaphysics.

Jeffrey McDonough (Harvard University)

My research focuses on the intersection of philosophy, science, and religion in the early modern era. I have written on a variety of topics, including Berkeley on human agency, Leibniz on incompossibility, and Spinoza on personal immortality. I am currently pursuing a number of projects including a series of articles on the philosophical implications of Leibniz’s work in physics and an edited volume of essays tracing the history of the concept of teleology.

Evelina Miteva (Babes-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca)

I work on Albertus Magnus, a topic which encompasses knowledge of Ancient philosophy, the influence of Arabic sources on 13th century Latin philosophy, as well as influences on later philosophy. My fields of interest are theory of knowledge, ethics, anthropology, and, most recently, natural philosophy. I am currently leading a project at the Babes-Bolyai University (Cluj-Napoca), which focuses on the human being as a crosspoint between these topics.

Steven Nadler (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

My research is focused on seventeenth-century philosophy and its early modern intellectual and religious contexts. My recent books include A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza’s Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age (Princeton, 2011) and The Philosopher, the Priest and the Painter: A Portrait of Descartes (Princeton, 2013). I have just completed a biography of Menasseh ben Israel, a rabbi in the Portuguese-Jewish community of Amsterdam in the seventeenth century and arguably the most famous Jew in Europe in the period (to be published by Yale University Press in the “Jewish Lives” series), and am now working on a study of Spinoza’s Compendium of Hebrew Grammar.

Lodi Nauta (Faculty of Philosophy, Groningen)

Working mainly on medieval, Renaissance and early modern philosophy, I have specialized in Renaissance humanism, having written on such humanists as Valla, Pontano, Agricola, Nizolio and Vives. I have also a great interest in early-modern thinkers such as Hobbes and Hume. I tend to focus on ideas on language, ideas which of course cannot be studied in separation from ideas about knowledge, metaphysics, the mental life, culture, politics and so on.

Tamer Nawar (Faculty of Philosophy, Groningen)

My research in the history of philosophy focuses on ancient and early medieval philosophy. I have published on Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and Augustine. My interests are broad, but I am especially interested in questions in epistemology and metaphysics, and at the intersection between these areas and value theory and the philosophy of action.

Lloyd Newton (KU Leuven)

My interest is in medieval philosophy in general, but particularly as it transitions into early modern philosophy.  In the past, my area of focus was on medieval commentaries on Aristotle’s Categories.  I have translated Duns Scotus’s Questions on Aristotle’s Categories and edited a volume on Medieval Commentaries on Aristotle’s Categories.  Currently, I am working on a selection of translations of the following medieval thinkers: Duns Scotus, John Mirecourt, John Buridan, Nicholas Oresme, and Blasius of Parma.

Robert Pasnau (University of Colorado, Boulder)

My interests are mainly in metaphysics and epistemology, especially in the later medieval and early modern period. I am the editor of the Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy and Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy, and the author of many books and articles, including Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671.

Dominik Perler (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Arts and Science)

I previously taught at Oxford and Basel and have had visiting positions at UCLA, Madison, Tel Aviv and Princeton. My research focuses on metaphysics, philosophy of mind and epistemology in the period between 1250 and 1700. I am particularly interested in theories of the soul and in conceptions of personhood.

Pauline Phemister (University of Edinburgh)

I work on early modern philosophy. My most recent research explores ways in which Leibniz’s philosophical views can be used to inform and advance current thinking in environmental philosophy (Leibniz and the Environment, Routledge, 2016).  Going forward, I seek to draw out implications of Leibniz’s notion of ‘mirroring’ for our ethical and aesthetic relations to past and future states of the world and its particulars.

Martin Pickavé (University of Toronto)

I am currently working on two monographs: a book on medieval theories of the emotions and another book entitled Agency, Spontaneity and Freedom in Later Medieval Philosophy. Although my present research is mostly on medieval moral psychology and philosophy of action I continue to have strong interests in philosophy of mind and metaphysics. I am also interested in ancient and early modern philosophy.

Ursula Renz (Professor of Philosophy at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria)

My recent research focuses on metaphysical, epistemological and moral psychological themes in Early Modern Philosophy (structures of reality, conceptions of the mind, self-knowledge and the emotions). My favourite early modern philosophers are Spinoza and Shaftesbury, but I am also interested in Descartes, Hobbes, Cudworth, Leibniz, Diderot, Rousseau, and Kant. Working in the history of philosophy, I try to point to the philosophical lessons which contemporary philosophy could learn from history.

Andrea Robiglio (KU Leuven)

(PhD 2001, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan) I am the author of L’impossibile volere. Tommaso d’Aquino, i tomisti e la volontà (Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 2002), La sopravvivenza e la gloria. Appunti sulla formazione della prima scuola tomista - sec. XIV (Bologna: ESD, 2008), and Con Dante. Contributo allo studio della filosofia romanza (Ravenna: Longo Editore, 2016). Currently Associate Professor of the History of Philosophy at the University of Louvain, I specialize in Medieval and Renaissance studies with a focus on social thought; I am also a member of the ‘Groupe d’Anthropologie Scolastique’ (EHESS, Paris) and of the ‘Aquinas and the Arabs’ research consortium.

Michael della Rocca (Yale University)

I have written two books on Spinoza, Representation and the Mind-Body Problem in Spinoza (Oxford 1996) and Spinoza (Routledge 2008), and I have edited the Oxford Handbook of Spinoza (2017).   My research focuses on metaphysics, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and philosophy of action in the early modern period and in contemporary philosophy.  My new project, entitled The Parmenidean Ascent, argues for a radical form of monism in metaphysics, epistemology, theory of meaning, and philosophy of action.

Marleen Rozemond (University of Toronto)

My research focuses on the divide between the material and the immaterial in the early modern period, and I pursue this topic in connection with late scholasticism.  This project began with Descartes’s dualism but in recent years I have been working on arguments for the immateriality of the soul or mind from the idea the mental requires an indivisible subject whereas matter is divisible.  I have begun work on a project that focuses on the idea common in the early modern period that not just the mental but also any genuine activity requires immateriality.

Paolo Rubini (Leibniz Edition, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities)

Psychology and philosophy of nature in the late middle ages and early modern time are what I am mostly interested in. Particularly, I have studied Pomponazzi’s theory of cognition and I am now trying to explore further 16th century Aristotelians, e.g. Zabarella. My focus is on the influence of Alexander of Aphrodisias. Within the Leibniz Edition, I am working on Leibniz’ early manuscripts about mechanics and life sciences.

Doina-Cristina Rusu (Faculty of Philosophy, Groningen)

My area of specialization is Early Modern Philosophy and Science, with a focus on experimental philosophy, natural magic, matter theory, and female scientific literature in the sixteenth and seventeen centuries. Recently I started a project on the use of the concept of 'spirits' in the emergence of early modern experimental philosophy.

Andrea Sangiacomo (Faculty of Philosophy, Groningen)

I have worked extensively on early modern philosophy and science. I devoted a significant part of my research to Spinoza. Between 2015 and 2019 I run a NWO-veni project on the impact of occasionalism on the reshaping of the notion of causality across seventeenth and eighteenth century. Since 2017 I'm interested in implementing new digital approaches and distant reading techniques to the study of early modern debates. These two interests converge in my new ERC Starting Grant Project (2019-2023), which will investigate how teaching practices shaped the evolution of early modern natural philosophy and contributed to the normalization of philosophical and scientific ideas.

Thérèse Scarpelli Cory (University of Notre Dame)

I work on medieval theories of mind and personhood in thirteenth-century thinkers such as Aquinas and Albert, together with their Arabic sources such as Avicenna, Averroes, and the Liber de causis.  My research has focused on themes such self-consciousness (Aquinas on Human Self-Knowledge, Cambridge 2014), attention, imagination, reflexivity and subjectivity, abstraction, and most recently, the metaphysics of mind and immateriality.  I'm also a member of the "Aquinas and 'the Arabs' International Working Group."

Stephan Schmid (Universität Hamburg)

I am currently a Professor at the University of Hamburg. My research focuses on late scholastic and early modern philosophy, where I am mainly interested in metaphysical questions about modality, causation and teleology, in topics of the philosophy of mind such as the nature of the soul and its faculties as well as in the epistemological question about the intelligibility of reality and skepticism.

Marco Sgarbi (Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia – Italy)

I am the Principal Investigator of the ERC Starting Grant 2013 "Aristotle in the Italian Vernacular: Rethinking Renaissance and Early-Modern Intellectual History (c. 1400-c. 1650)”, the editor of the “Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy” (Springer, 2018) and of the “ Bloomsbury Studies in the Aristotelian Tradition” series. I am studying Italian vernacular Aristotelianism and the impact of the Aristotelian tradition on the making of Renaissance and early-modern philosophy, focusing on British Empiricism and Kantian Philosophy.

Alison Simmons (Harvard University)

My research has focused on early modern theories of mind and perception, especially in the figures of Descartes, Malebranche and Leibniz.  At the moment, I’m working on Descartes’ general conception of the mind and the question whether and how it differs from earlier conceptions of mind.  I have worked on late scholastic Aristotelian theories of the soul and perception. And currently, I’m doing some work on Anne Conway and Margaret Cavendish.

Justin Smith (Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7)

I work on the history of natural philosophy and metaphysics broadly construed, from the 16th to the 18th centuries. The figure who centers and orients my work across this broad time period is G. W. Leibniz. I also work on the history and philosophy of science, and am particularly interested in the history of taxonomy and classification, as these come into play in such diverse domains as chemistry, botany, and palaeontology.

Emily Thomas (Durham University)

My research primarily concerns time and space in early modern, and early twentieth century, metaphysics. I am also interested in a broad range of issues that connect with these primary concerns, including idealism, substance, personal identity over time, ontological dependence, monism, categories, emergentism, and metaphysical philosophy of religion.

Anik Waldow (University of Sydney)

I mainly work in early modern philosophy and have published articles on the moral and cognitive role of Humean sympathy, early modern theories of personal identity, skepticism and associationist theories of thought and language. I am currently writing a book on the the explanatory function of  experience in early modern thought. I am also interested in the emergence of anthropology as an experience-grounded, naturalised form of philosophy at the end of the 18th century and have worked on the controversy between Kant and Herder over the status of active metaphysical forces.

Peter West (Trinity College, Dublin)

My research primarily focuses on early modern philosophy, and especially the philosophy of George Berkeley. In an early modern context, I am interested in issues such as the nature of ideas, the relationship between representation and resemblance, and what it means for a thing to be 'real' in various philosophical systems (including materialism and idealism). One specific issue I have focused on is tracing the lineage of anti-representationalist thought amongst thinkers such as John Sergeant, George Berkeley, and Thomas Reid.

Ryan Wittingslow (University College Groningen)

Under the guise of intellectual history, my work examines the epistemic and ontological tensions that underpin the relationships between medieval, early modern, and Romantic thought. I am particularly interested in the means by which these tensions manifest in the history of technology.

Charles Wolfe (Gent University)

I have been working on early modern and 'Enlightenment' theories of life, in relation to both materialism (La Mettrie, Diderot, etc.), Montpellier vitalism, and the development of biology. Some outcomes of the latter set of interests are: the edited volume 'Monsters and Philosophy' (2005), the special issue of HPLS on the concept of organism (2010), and, reflecting a more recent focus on early modern life science and empiricism, the edited volume 'The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge' (2010). Another volume (2013) I edited was on Brain Theory. I am currently at work on a monograph on 18th century vitalism. M y new short book is "Materialism: A Historico-Philosophical Introduction" (Springer 2015).

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Last modified:01 April 2019 3.19 p.m.