Full Programme

Life and Death in Early Modern Philosophy

14th – 16th April 2016

Conference of the European Society for Early Modern Philosophy and the British Society for the History of Philosophy in association with the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, KCL and the Wellcome Trust


Thursday 14th April 2016

The Great Hall, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

2.30-4.0: Tea and Registration in the Foyer of the Great Hall.

4.0 – 4.30: Susan James, Welcome and Introduction.

4.30- 6.0: Plenary Lecture: Michael Moriarty, The thought of death changes all our ideas and condemns our plans.

Friday 15th April 2016

Birkbeck College, Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL.

9.30am – 11am: Plenary Lecture:  Ursula Renz, Our Consciousness of Being Alive as a Source of Knowledge.

11.15am – 12.45pm:

Session 1: 

Barnaby Hutchins, Descartes’s ‘Vitalism’ .

Session 2:

Steph Marston, Affects and Effects:  Spinoza on Life.

Julie Klein, Life and Death in Spinoza: Power and Reconfiguration.

Session 3:

John Callanan, The Historical Context of Kant’s Opposition to Suicide.

Jonas Jervell Indregard, Kant on Beauty and the Promotion of Life.


Coinciding with meeting of agreed and likely contributors to research network.

2pm – 3.30pm: Plenary Lecture: Martine Pécharman, The Moral Import of Afterlife Arguments in Pascal and Locke.

3.45pm – 5.15pm:

Session 1:

Hannah Laurens, An Eternal Part of the Body? Spinoza on Human Existence Beyond Life and Death.

Filip Buyse, Spinoza on conatus, inertia and the impossibility of self-destruction.

Session 2:

Andreas Scheib, Johannes Clauberg and the Development of Anthropology  after Descartes.

Andrea Strazzoni, Particles, Medicaments and Method.  The Medical Cartesianism of Henricius Regius.

Session 3:

Sarah Tropper,  ‘When the Manner of Death Disagrees with the Status of Life.  The Intricate Question of Suicide in Early Modern Philosophy.

Teresa Tato Lima, Suicide and Hume’s Perspective about Human Life.

5.30pm – 7pm: Plenary Lecture: Mariafranca Spallanzani, ‘Tota  philosophorum vita commentatio mortis est’. Death of philosophers.


Saturday 16th April 2016

Birkbeck College, Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL.

9.30am – 11am:

Session 1:

Kate Abramson, Living well, well-being and ethical normativity in Hume’s ethics.

Giuliana di Biase, Human’s life as a “state of mediocrity” in John Locke’s Essay and in his other works.

Session 2:

Dolores Iorizzo, Francis Bacon’s Natural and Experimental History of Life and Death (1623): A Lacuna in Accounts of the Scientific Revolution.

Gianni Paganini, Life, Mind and Body.  Campanella and Descartes’ Connections.

Session 3:

Oliver Istvan Toth, Do we really need to die?  Spinoza on the Necessity of Death in the Ethics.

Piet Steenbakkers, Living Well, Dying Well:  Life and Death in Spinoza’s Philosophy and Biography.

11.15am – 12.45pm: Plenary Lecture: Charles Wolfe, How I learned to love Vitalism.


2pm – 3.30pm:

Session 1:

Sean Winkler, The Persistence of Identity in Spinoza’s Account of Individuals.

Mogens Laerke, The Living God.  On Spinoza’s Hebrew Grammar and Cogitata Metaphysica II,6.

Session 2:

Piero Schiavo, Contrôler la mort : Démocrite et le mythe d’une mort en philosophe.

Michael Jaworzyn, Clauberg, Geulincx, and philosophy as meditatio mortis after Descartes.

Session 3:

Matteo Favaretti Camposampiero, The Ban of Death:  Leibniz’s Scandalous Immortalism.

Audrey Borowski,  Leibniz’s natural Mechanism. Life and Death Revisited.

3.45pm – 4.15pm: Meetings of learned societies.

4.15pm – 5.45pm: Plenary Lecture:  Lisa Shapiro, Learning to Live a Fully Human Life.

5.45 – 6.0:        Conclusion and Farewell