CFP: Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science

 13-15 March 2018
Invited speakers: Arianna Borrelli (Technical University, Berlin), Hasok Chang (University of Cambridge), David Marshall Miller (University of Iowa), Cesare Pastorino (Technical University, Berlin), Friedrich Steinle (Technical University, Berlin).
The seventh edition of the Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science will focus on the interplay between quantification, practice(s) and the emergence of new epistemic genres in the early modern period (broadly conceived). We are especially interested in the several ways in which debates on epistemic genres and disciplinary boundaries contributed to the shaping of new “forms of mathematization” from the 16th century to the 18th century (and beyond).


Digital Humanities – Crystal Hall (Bowdoin College), Computing Galileo’s Library: The Humanities’ Role in Shaping Computation

22497545_1486665248047458_1495380118_n2 November, 11 h

This presentation explores the creation of a digital humanities project as an opportunity for humanists to intervene in design thinking in ways that have broad ramifications. The case study of building an interactive, digital laboratory for the study of Galileo Galilei’s library, offers a way to assert the value of ambiguous and missing data, database design for exploration rather than retrieval, and experimentation via historical epistemologies. Examples will be drawn from Galileo’s works and books related to literature and natural philosophy from early modern Italy.


IRH-ICUB Visting Professors, 2017-2018

The IRH-ICUB is happy to announce the visiting professors fellowships awarded in October 2017:

Prof. Nancy S. Jecker (University of Washington) – Philosophical and Practical Challenges of Decision Making for Elderly People with Dementia (December 2017)

Prof. Cornelia Ilie (Malmö University) – Pragma-Rhetorical Approaches to Political Discourse (March 2018)

Prof. Sorin Bangu (University of Bergen) – Philosophical Issues about the Roles of Mathematics in the Sciences (June 2018)

Medieval Europe and Beyond

Conveners:  Marian Coman (University of Bucharest, marian.coman(at); Ionuț Epuresc-Pascovici (University of Bucharest, ionut.epurescu-pascovici(at)

This research working group is intended as a venue for historians, social scientists, and philosophers interested in discussing recent developments in the study of medieval Europe. Comparisons between Latin Europe, Byzantium, and Islam, and between late antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the early modern period are encouraged. The research group is not limited to medievalists but open to colleagues in other fields.

Monthly meetings include roundtable discussions of recent scholarship, readings of primary sources, methodological seminars, and presentations of work in progress. Working languages are Romanian and English.

Each academic year is dedicated to a general theme. The theme for 2017/2018 is Understanding Medieval Violence.

The seminar meets every month during the academic year at ICUB, 1 Dimitrie Brândză St., in the Seminar Room. More details here.

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 VallerianiLecturer: 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.