Colloquium Programme

Bucharest colloquium in Early Modern Philosophy

30thJune–2nd July 2008

New Europe College – Institute of Advanced Studies

Vanishing bodies and the birth of modern physics:

experimental philosophy, speculative philosophy and the missing matter theory of the seventeenth century


Research centre Foundations of Early Modernity, University of Bucharest

Princeton University

University of Otago, New Zealand

New Europe College, Institute of Advanced Studies


University of Notre Dame

Nanovic Institute


Daniel Garber, Princeton University

Peter Anstey, Otago University

Vlad Alexandrescu, University of Bucharest

Dana Jalobeanu, Western University “Vasile Goldis”, Arad


Monday, 30th of June

10.00-10.30 Opening speeches:

Daniel Garber (Princeton University)

Peter Anstey (University of Otago, New Zealand)

Dana Jalobeanu (Western University “Vasile Goldis”, Arad)

Morning session:

Chair: Vlad Alexandrescu (University of Bucharest)

10.30 -11.30 Roger Ariew (University of South Florida) The new matter theory and its epistemology: Descartes (and Late Scholastics) on hypotheses and moral certainty

11.30-12.00 Coffee break

12.00-13.00 Christoph Luthy (Radbound University Nijmegen) But was there a mechanical philosophy besides Descartes'?

13.00-14.30 Lunch

Afternoon session:

Chair: Roger Ariew (University of South Florida)

14.30-15.30 Peter Anstey (University of Otago, New Zealand) The matter of medicine: new medical matter theories in mid-seventeenth-century England

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-17.00 Lucian Petrescu (University of Bucharest) Descartes on evanescent forms and enduring hylemorphism

17.00-18.00 Vlad Alexandrescu (University of Bucharest) Post- Cartesian atomism: The case of Francois Bernier

Tuesday, 1st July

Morning session:

Chair: Dana Jalobeanu (Western University “Vasile Goldis”, Arad)

10.00-11.00 Daniel Garber (Princeton University)Leibniz, matter theory, and monads

11.00-11.30 Coffee break

11.30-12.30 Katherine Brading (Notre Dame University) On composite systems: Descartes, Newton, and Leibniz

12.30-13.30 Eric Schliesser (University of Leyden) Without God: Gravity as a relational and accidental property of matter in Newton

13.30-15.00 Lunch

Afternoon session:

Chair: Daniel Garber (Princeton University)

15.30-16.30 William Harper (University of Western Ontario) Newton, Huygens, Wren and Wallis: pendulum experiments as measurements establishing the equality of action and reaction in collision.

16.30-17.00 Coffee break

17.00-18.00 John Bell (University of Western Ontario) Infinitesimals in 17th century

Wednesday, 2nd July

Chair: Peter Anstey (University of Otago, New Zealand)

10.00-11.00 Jani Hakkarainen (University of Tampere, Finland) Berkeley’s and Hume’s criticisms of early modern conception of body

11.00-11.30 Coffee break

11.30-12.30 Mihnea Dobre (University of Bucharest and Radbound University, Nijmegen) The invisible nature of body in Descartes’ natural philosophy

12.30-13.30 Norma B. Goethe (National University of Cordoba, Argentina) Vanishing figures and numbers: continuity and Leibniz uses of physical and mathematical analogy

13.30 -14.30 Lunch