Workshop on Simplification and Reductionism in Early Modern Science

Organizers: Doina-Cristina Rusu and Martin Lenz

Thursday, 14th of April

Location: Seminar Room, IRH


Invited speakers: Peter Anstey (University of Sydney & University of Bucharest), Laura Georgescu (Ghent University), Dana Jalobeanu (University of Bucharest), Martin Lenz (University of Groningen), Doina-Cristina Rusu (University of Bucharest)


Simplification and reduction are common objectives in scientific explanation. Faced with countless phenomena, we usually wish to explain them by assuming as few principles as possible or by reducing them to supposedly more basic entities or facts. But while reductive strategies certainly have pragmatic merits, they raise a number of central questions: What kinds of entities admit of reduction? In which contexts are reductive strategies typically applied? When does simplification turn into over simplification? How are reductions and simplifications justified? This workshop is intended to explore these questions in the context of the so-called scientific revolution.



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

10:00-11:00 – Martin Lenz, Science and Simplicity

11:00-11:30 – Coffee break

11:30-12:30 – Dana Jalobeanu, Francis Bacon on mixed-mathematics and the growth of knowledge

12:30-13:30 – Doina-Cristina Rusu, Bacon’s Metaphysics: Forms, Motions, Pneumatic Matter

13:30-15:00 – Lunch break

15:00-16:00 – Laura Georgescu, Simplifications in the constitution of a ‘scientific’ phenomenon: magnetic inclination

16:00-16:30 – Coffee break

16:30-17:30 – Peter Anstey, Principled Enlightenment

17:30-18:00 – Concluding remarks