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The Birth and Development of Theodicy: Plato and His Successors

Convener: Viktor Ilievski (IRH-ICUB, University of Bucharest)

he main purpose of this seminar is to provide a forum where the convener and the prospective participants would discuss one of the rare underrepresented areas of Platonic studies, that is, Plato’s contribution to the development of the great theodicean strategies, which take very prominent place not only in the writings of the early and late Christian thinkers, but also in the systems of some Hellenistic and Late Antiquity schools. The thesis which will be promulgated is that Plato did take theodicy seriously (pace Carlos Steel, Sarah Broadie, etc.). What is more, he actually invented and introduced some of the most prominent ways of justifying God’s goodness in the face of the omnipresent evil that we still work with today – but recognize them as contributions of, e.g., Plotinus or St. Augustine – as well as some that have gone out of fashion and are not being considered seriously by theologian and philosophers of religion. To these two groups belong Plato’s Freedom of choice defense, the Principle of plenitude, the Aesthetic theme, and the Rival substance defense, respectively. Thus, the real problem with Plato’s theodicy is not that it is non-existent or meager, but that its exposition is unsystematic, while the ideas and the solutions are fragmentary and dispersed throughout the dialogues.

More details here.


Images of the Knowledge System Pivoted Around Cosmology

afis Valleriani

Lecturer: Matteo Valleriani (Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin, & Visiting Professor, IRH-ICUB October 2017)

Level: master and PhD students, but the course is also open to undergraduates
Language: English

Practical knowledge is the knowledge needed to produce a certain item; it can take the form of an art or mechanical object, or of the specific result of, for instance, a medical treatment or mathematical procedure. The production process of this item is always represented by a workflow, such as the construction process of a machine, the formulation of a recipe, or the creation of an algorithm. The early modern period is characterized by the incremental codification of practical knowledge into texts, diagrams, and images. Being codified, this knowledge is no longer practical but assumes more abstract forms: it becomes the new foundation of a new knowledge structure and a new knowledge system.

Based on this definition, the course/seminar will explore the process of expansion of the knowledge system that emerged during the late Middle Ages, which was based on the geocentric worldview and institutionally embedded in the newly founded European universities.

More details here.

Reading Nature With Aristotle

afis GuliziaLecturer: Stefano Gulizia (CUNY / IRH-ICUB Visiting Professor)

This is an optional course with credits, primarily intended for Master students (History and Philosophy of Science), but also open to PhD students, postdocs, and members of the Institute for Research in the Humanities. It is divided into seminars and lectures, and it runs from October 12 till November 2 (six classes of four hours each). The course focuses on the Aristotelian science of natural problems, which continues to be a most neglected area of Peripatetic thought despite having been the bedrock of influential debates up to the Enlightenment. It provides a fresh history of one philosophical genre, the problems, and it asks what does it mean to do philosophy within the confines of such epistemic vehicle. This is an excellent opportunity for a first encounter with Aristotle.

The courses will take place at the Faculty of Philosophy, Council Room. For further information, send an e-mail at:

More details here.

ICUB – MPIWG workshop on Graphs, Networks and Digital Humanities, 8-11 October 2017

22181305_1863536353659958_2806493548237367213_oThe Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (ICUB), the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) and the ICUB research group on graphs and social networks (GraphNets) will organize, between 8 – 11 October, the international workshop on Graphs, networks and digital humanities. The workshop will be held at Casa Universitarilor (46, Dionisie Lupu St., Bucharest).

 Graphs, networks and digital humanities is a three-day international and interdisciplinary workshop for academics, researchers, post-doctoral students, PhD candidates and other interested participants, irrespective of their research fields, attracted by the idea of exploring the theoretical and applied nexus among social sciences, humanities, mathematics and computer science, under the umbrella of network analysis. The workshop provides a general platform for discussions and talks on the specific ways of applying network analysis to a great variety of research topics in the field of social sciences and humanities.

More details here.

IRH-ICUB Seminars

New Seminars series at the IRH-ICUB:

Images of the Knowledge System Pivoted Around Cosmology. A new form of codification of practical knowledge and its (practical) function from the 14th to the 17th century 
Optional intensive course, level: master and PhD students, but the course is also open to undergraduates
Lecturer: Matteo Valleriani (Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin, & Visiting Professor, IRH-ICUB October 2017)

Reading Nature With Aristotle, Optional intensive course, 12 October  – 2 November
Lecturer: Stefano Gulizia (CUNY / IRH-ICUB Visiting Professor)

The Birth and Development of Theodicy: Plato and His Successors
Convener: Viktor Ilievski

Adorno’s Early Phenomenology
Convener: Christian Ferencz-Flatz

The Following Seminars will reopen in October-November:

Consciousness and Cognition: An Interdisciplinary Approach 
Convener: Diana Stanciu

Medieval Europe and Beyond
Conveners: Marian Coman and Ionuț Epurescu-Pascovici

The grant proposal: from research design to writing strategies
Organized by Lorena Anton, Mihnea Dobre, Ionut Epurescu-Pascovici

Memory: From Brains to Narratives
Convenor: Lorena Anton

Digital Humanities Series
Organized by Mihnea Dobre and Timothy Tambassi.

Metaphysics after the ‘Scientific Revolution’ (1687-1781), October 2-3, 2017

V3University of Bucharest, IRH-ICUB and the Faculty of Philosophy

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Paola Basso (University of Bucharest)
Andrew Janiak (Duke University)
Fritz Nagel (University of Basel)
Anne-Lise Rey (University of Lille)

Organized by:
Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet (University of Bucharest) and Grigore Vida (University of Bucharest)

The purpose of this conference is to investigate the redefinition of metaphysics in the period from Newton’s Principia, marking the apex of the so-called ‘Scientific Revolution’, to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. During this time metaphysics underwent significant transformations in response to the radical challenges posed by the new physics and empiricism. The Newtonian paradigm became dominant, but there was growing dissatisfaction with what was regarded as its lack of metaphysical foundation.

More details and program here.

Call for Applications – 2 year post-doc research position

IRH-ICUB is announcing a 2-year research position within the project “The emergence of mathematical physics in the context of experimental philosophy” (Principal Investigator: Dana Jalobeanu).

  • The successful candidate should have a PhD (preferably in history of science, early modern studies, history of mathematics), a significant publication record in the field of early modern studies, preferably in connection with the history of early modern mathematics, mathematical practices, the reception of Proclean tradition, or sixteenth century Aristotelianism.
  • Knowledge of English and Latin required, French and German constitute an advantage. The successful candidate will join the team of the project on November 1, 2017.
  • Deadline for applications, September 30, 2017. There will be an interview, organized in October 3, 2017.
  • Research topics: The Aristotelian theory of science and its early modern reception, The Proclean tradition in the 16-17 centuries, Forms of mathematization in the “scientific revolution”; historiographic debates.
  • The application file should have two components:
  1. a CV and a letter of motivation by email to (by September 30).
  2. a standard application file (containing copies of the diplomas) to be sent to the University of Bucharest, Mihail Kogalniceanu str. 34-36. For details on how to put together the application file:; or tel: 0040-21-307-73-00

See also