Centre de recherches « Fondements de la Modernité Européenne » de l'Université de Bucarest
Université d'Ouest « Vasile Goldis », Arad
Association Roumaine des Chercheurs Francophones en Sciences Humaines

 

Séminaire Princeton/Arad sur la Pensée moderne

 

Théories de la matière et de l'esprit au dix-septième siècle

Theories of Matter and Mind in Seventeenth Century

 

Avec le soutien financier de:

Connex

L'Université d'ouest « Vasile Goldis », Arad

L'Association Roumaine des Chercheurs Francophones en Sciences Humaines

Le Conseil départemental d'Arad

S.C. Tehnodomus S.A.

S.C. Arcons S.A.

 

 

Arad

6 -12 Septembre 2004

 

PROGRAMME

 

Jour d'ouverture

Lundi, 6 Septembre 2004

 

8.00-12.00

Accueil des participants

11.00-11.30

Allocutions d'ouverture : Recteur de l'Université "Vasile Goldis", Délégué du Conseil municipal de la ville d'Arad

11.30-12.00

Lancement du tome 5 de la revue ARCHES : Modèles concurrents de l'individu dans la pensée moderne

Modérateurs: Vlad Alexandrescu et Dana Jalobeanu

12.00

Départ pour le vignoble de Minis

13.30-15.00

Déjeuner

15.30

Retour de Minis

16.30- 17.15

Lucian PETRESCU, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris

Petite salle de la Fondation « Vasile Goldis » (Bd. de la Révolution)

Sum precise tantum res cogitans.

Quelques remarques sur l'ontologie des Méditations

Résumé : Étant donné que l'ontologie, traditionnellement, traite du cogitabile qu'elle ne cherche pas (elle le déploie), je vais essayer d'éclairer un peu le savoir (pré-)ontologique qui se déploie, lui, à travers les Méditations, attentif à son « acte » ou à son « jeu », mais n'oubliant pas en même temps son « enjeu », cette idée de science « universelle parce que première », « protologie ». Il s'agit principalement d'interroger le statut du cogito dans ce savoir, comme terrain où s'affrontent un substantialisme assumé dès le début et la quête d'un fondement universel, c'est-à-dire y compris de ce substantialisme. Ainsi, l'ontologie n'a que faire du cogito comme tel, car elle traite de ce qu'elle pose et non de ce qu'elle rencontre, du permanent qu'elle-même assure ; mais le cogito a à faire avec l'ontologie, car c'est par cette impuissance même de se laisser « couvrir » ontologiquement qu'il en requiert la présence et l'intervention.

17.15-18.00

Igor AGOSTINI, Università di Lecce

Petite salle de la Fondation « Vasile Goldis »

Ens summe perfectum et infinitum (Meditatio III, AT VII 46, ll. 11-12): a historical approach

Résumé: The analysis of the cartesian notion of ens infinitum & perfectum (as well as the debate of Cartesian literature on the relationship between the divine attributes of Infinity and Perfection) could be enlightened by the historical reconstruction of a theological discussion, developed in Modern Scholasticism, still in course in Descartes's day: the controversy on the ratio formalis infiniti.

This reconstruction shows that in the first half of the seventeenth century: 1) The attributes of Infinity and Perfection had been identified by one of the theological lines-up involved in the controversy: the one referring to the solution proposed by Francisco Suárez in the Metaphysicae Disputationes (1597) and riveted in the De Divina Substantia (1606); 2) This identification was detriment to the thomistic solution (prevailing until then); 3) The theological crisis of the thomistic doctrine results from an ontological crisis: the decadence of the thomistic real distinction between Essence end Existence (as well as the crisis of the thomistic doctrine of the limitation of Existence as act by Essence as potency).

The examination of the cartesian corpus points out the presence of the two philosophical theses (distinction of reason between essence and existence; doctrine of the self-limitation of act) which had historically determinated the success of the suárezian theological identification of Infinity and Perfection.

18.00-18.30

Pause café

18.30-20.00

Conférence inaugurale (séance publique)

Grande Salle de la Mairie (Place de la Mairie)

Professeur Daniel GARBER, Princeton University

Ghosts

20.30

Réception d'ouverture

Mardi, 7 Septembre

 

Matinée

 

10.00-11.30

Discussion

Centre de conférences (Bd. de la Révolution)

Leibniz's theory of matter

Modérateur: Daniel GARBER

Textes: Leibniz, Système nouveau de la nature et de la communication des substances (1695)

11.30-12.00

Pause café

12.00-13.30

 

14.00-15.00

Déjeuner

16.30-17.15

Mihnea DOBRE, Université de Bucarest

Cordemoy critiques of Descartes's dualism

Résumé: One of the continuators of Descartes is Géraud de Cordemoy. He was a very active member of the different Cartesian academies, and finally he was elected to the Académie Française. But despite this connection with the Cartesian circles he developed a different system of natural philosophy.

Although, he starts from the Cartesian dualism, he develops it in an unorthodox way. I am going to talk in my presentation about this "revolt" against Descartes. It's a very strange development of the natural philosophy, which involves the existence of the atoms and of the void. He gives a solution to Descartes' problem of the individuation of bodies, but this solution is a very strange one for the Cartesians.

In short, the resemblances with Descartes are the following: Cordemoy states the existence of two substances (extended and knowing); all changes of the world have the same cause: God etc. And the differences are the following: matter is not indefinitely divisible, there are ultimate particles: the atoms; there is no need to have bodies that fill the gaps between other bodies, so the existence of the void is possible; bodies are different from the matter, and the matter is a collection of individual bodies. Cordemoy's theory has the advantage of a better explanation for the problem of individuation. I shall discuss this, as well as other implications of the atomization of Cartesian physics.

17.15-18.00

Adina RUIU, Université de Bucarest

"L'esprit contre la chair": les passions chez Jean-François Senault et Marin Cureau de La Chambre

Contemporains et jouissant d'un succès de public qui leur a valu la rapide traduction en anglais, les traités des passions signés par J.-F. Senault (De l'usage des passions) et Marin Cureau de La Chambre (Les Caractères des passions) se font l'expression d'un courant, de plus en plus fort, qui se propose la récupération des passions. La référence obligée aux noms qui font autorité (Aristote, St. Augustin, Sénèque, Thomas d'Aquin, François de Sales) s'accompagne d'un orgueil innovateur qui bouleverse la taxinomie des passions et d'un désir d'exhaustivité qui pousse les auteurs à envisager toutes les conséquences morales, politiques, esthétiques et épistémologiques qu'engendrent leurs approches (physiologique chez Cureau de La Chambre, morale chez Senault). Nous accorderons une attention particulière au fonctionnement du rapport âme-corps qui sous-tend cette réorientation.

18.00-18.30

Pause café

18.30-20.00

Professeur Giulia BELGIOIOSO, Università di Lecce

Descartes. Filosofare come meditare

Résumé :

20.30

Dîner

 

 

Mercredi, 8 Septembre

 

Matinée

 

10.00-11.30

Discussion

Modérateur: Vlad ALEXANDRESCU, Université de Bucarest

Thème : Correspondance de Descartes d'Elisabeth de Bohème

Textes : Correspondance de Descartes d'Elisabeth de Bohème

11.30-12.00

Pause café

12.00-13.30

14.00-15.00

Déjeuner

Après-midi

16.30-17.15

Dana JALOBEANU, Université d'Ouest Vasile Goldis, Arad

Rarefaction and the notion of body in 17th century

Résumé : In the second part of his Principles of Philosophy, Descartes elaborates a very sophisticated, albeit rather counterintuitive explanation of rarefaction and condensation. Starting from his new "thin" conception of matter, Descartes argues against those who consider that rarefaction means increasing the dimensions of body. Instead, he seems to propose a simpler principle: each rarefaction is no more than an addition of matter from other (surrounding) bodies. His well known example is the sponge: when full with water, it is no bigger than when squeezed. In fact, what happens is that the pores of the sponge are full with water. Each rarefaction, Descartes argues, is of the same kind: with some extra-matter added to the interstices of the initial body whose proper extension remains unchanged. There have been numerous interpretations of this account, both in Descartes' own time and in our own. Apart from being counter-intuitive, it has tremendous consequences on the subsequent conception of matter and motion: for example, that the same volume contains always the same quantity of matter (since matter is no more and no less than extension).

In this paper I want to have another look at Descartes' explanation of rarefaction and condensation of bodies starting from a somewhat different and rather distanced point: Walter Charleston's account of the rarefaction and condensation of bodies in Physiologia Epicuro-Gassendo-Charletoniana (1654).

It had been stressed more than once that Descartes' account of rarefaction in the Principles was directed against the Atomists. However, an Atomist like Charleton, (albeit a rather eclectic one) who, moreover, espoused Gassendi's conception of matter, when faced with finding an explanation for rarefaction and condensation had adopted the basis of Descartes' account. Even if he was starting from atoms and interstitial void, after extended demonstrations of the presence of vacuum in the world, Charleton emphasized the Cartesian principle that rarefaction is done without the modification of body's dimensions. What I would like to demonstrate in the following paper is that far from being just a random borrowing, the adoption of Descartes' explanation is highly significant. In fact, is not Descartes' explanation of rarefaction which is at stake, but something much more important, the definition of what counts as a physical body.

Finding an explanation for rarefaction and condensation is a test for the new mechanical philosophy. A test which differentiates between various brands of atomism. Moreover, rarefaction and condensation are two very important phenomena strongly connected with one's definition of physical bodies and with some of the main challenges of seventeenth century natural philosophy: the cohesion and individuation of physical bodies.

I will show in this paper that the Atomistic explanation of rarefaction, although more counterintuitive, faces some important difficulties and gets entangled with conceptual problems concerning the very nature and definition of a physical body. Therefore, Descartes tortuous explanation, developed not only in Principles II.5 but in a whole passage from article 1 to article 19 of the Principles, comes as a possible solution to some well known and generally acknowledged difficulties. Moreover, it comes together with a new and interesting model of physical bodies which seems to solve, at least prima facie, some of the acknowledged difficulties of the new "mechanical" theories of matter. Charleton's option to follow Descartes and not Gassendi on the matter reflects the dimensions of the problem and a sort of general awareness of the philosophical community.

In the last part of my paper I will investigate some of Newton's early thoughts on the matter, from his Quaestiones quedam philosophiae and De Gravitatione, showing that he has started also from the same Cartesian model of physical bodies.

17.15-18.00

Justin Smith, Université Concordia, Montréal

La causalité intersubtantielle dans l'embryologie mécaniste après Descartes

Résumé : Je propose une communication sur le problème de l'acquisition des traits dans l'embryologie mécaniste de la deuxième moitié du 17e siècle. J'examinerai le rapport entre la question empirique, de l'un coté, du dispositif de la réproduction des animaux et, de l'autre coté, le debat philosophique du même periode sur le problème de la causalité intersubstantielle entre l'esprit et le corps. Pour plusieurs chercheurs du développement embryonnaire dans le 17e siècle, la pouvoir de l'imagination maternelle a joué un rôle important dans le debat sur la communication des traits des parents aux enfants. En opposition à l'opinion la plus répandue aujourd'hui, que la théorie de l'influence de l'imagination maternelle sur le foetus n'était qu'un vestige superstitieux dans la médecine à l'âge classique, je montrai que, dans le cadre de la nouvelle science mécaniste, où la théorie de la pouvoir de l'imagination maternelle a été la plus développée, la théorie représente le résultat d'un effort très urgent pour expliquer la croissance et le développement du foetus sans avoir recours aux formes incorporels ou à la téléologie d'Aristote. Privé de ce concept central de la science prémoderne, mais en même temps sans connaissance d'un gène qui pourrait transmettre information des parents aux enfants, les embryologues mécanistes ont été contraint d'expliquer les traits du foetus comme acquis en cours du développement, plutôt qu'hérités dans le sens stricte du concept d'hérédité. Au moins dans la tradition physiologique cartésienne, la communication des traces physiques des évenements psychiques dans l'esprit de la mère se présenta comme l'explication la plus plausible de l'acquisition des traits, et même comme l'explication la plus conforme aux nouveaux normes scientifiques de l'époque méchaniste. Mon but primaire dans cette communication est de révéler, sur l'exemple de l'acquisition des traits, dans quelle mesure l'embryologie à l'âge classique, particulièrement celle des mécanistes post-cartésiennes comme Régis et Le Grand, s'imbriqua avec le problème métaphysique du rapport entre l'esprit et le corps, et, en sens invers, dans quelle mesure les métaphysiciens, en traitant ce même rapport, s'interessèrent pour la recherche experimentale sur le développement embryonnaire.

18.00-18.30

Pause café

18.30-20.00

Dr. Paul LODGE, Mansfield College, Oxford

The role of a posteriori and a priori demonstration in Leibniz's metaphysics

Résumé: In this presentation I will examine the way in which Leibniz tries to establish metaphysical claims through the provision of demonstration. In recent accounts of Leibniz's methodology, Donald Rutherford and Stuart Brown have argued for two opposed views on the importance of demonstration for Leibniz. Despite Leibniz's continued appeal to arguments which are grounded in empirical observation when he tries to defend his views about metaphysical issues, Rutherford argues that throughout his life Leibniz believed that the only way in which his views could be ultimately supported was through an a priori demonstration of their truth. He explains the apparent disparity between Leibniz's adherence to this method and his philosophical practice in terms that are largely pragmatic in nature (though ultimately grounded by an ethical imperative - the need to ensure that all people come to see the truth). Stuart Brown on the other hand, paying particular attention to writings such as The New System, has suggested that Leibniz moved away from an adherence to a priori demonstration toward the view that even metaphysical theses are warranted by appeal to something like the hypothetico-deductive method. By considering the correspondence with De Volder, in which the proper method for establishing metaphysical claims (in particular the claim that all substances are naturally active) is an explicit concern, I show that Leibniz's method incorporates elements of both. In fact, he can be seen as adopting a version of the method of regressus (made famous in the late 16th century by Zabarella), which essentially involves both empirical and non-empirical premises.

20.30

Dîner

Jeudi, 9 Septembre

 

Matinée

 

10.00-11.30

Discussion

Modérateur: Daniel GARBER

Thème :

Bibliographie: Galiléo Galilei, Discours concernant deux sciences nouvelles (1638)

11.30-12.00

Pause café

12.00-13.30

Discussion

Modérateur: Dana JALOBEANU

Thème : Boyle's theory of matter

Bibliographie : Robert Boyle, Origin of Forms and Qualities, theoretical part and 13th Experiment

14.00-15.00

Déjeuner

Après-midi

 

16.00-17.15

Massimiliano SAVINI, Università di Lecce

Notes au sujet de la notion de capacité chez Pascal

Résumé: Le propos de cet exposé est celui d'analyser la notion pascalienne de capacité et les notions qui lui sont liées, comme par exemple celle de 'double capacité' et 'd'incapacité'. En reprenant un mot et un concept 'majeur' de la tradition de l'anthropologie théologique remontant à Augustin (et de lui à St. Paul), Pascal reprend aussi les développements (lexicaux, mais aussi philosophiques) que cette notion a eus dans la première moitié du XVII siècle. En particulier il sera intéressant de rapprocher le milieu conceptuel de la capacité chez Pascal avec la notion (christologique) de capacité chez Pierre de Bérulle: différents textes permettent de montrer un rapport et un parallélisme qui lie Pascal à l'école française de spiritualité. Mais ce rapport est loin d'être la simple réproposition des thèmes largement communs dans la littérature religieuse de l'époque: Pascal saisit parfaitement le sens du concept de capacité, mais il le 'tourne' à sa manière en aboutissant à un concept original comme celui de 'incapacité'.

17.15-18.00

 

18.00-18.30

Pause café

18.30-20.00

Vlad ALEXANDRESCU

Démètre Cantemir, un « illuminé » de l'Orient

Résumé: Quelques pistes de recherche pour tracer la généalogie intellectuelle du traité Sacro-Sanctae Scientiae indepingibilis imago (1700) et reconstituer la formation du jeune prince philosophe roumain dans l'ambiance extrêmement riche de Constantinople, dominée certes par la théologie orthodoxe, mais caractérisée aussi par des opinions philosophiques significatives, comme le rejet de l'aristotélisme et une préférence accordée à des éléments de doctrine issus de Johan Baptista Van Helmont.

Vendredi, 10 Septembre

 

Matinée

 

10.00-11.30

Sorana CORNEANU, University of Bucharest

'Self to itself now': the Lockean 'person', self-conscious and uneasy 

Résumé: In discussing the sources of our ideas in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke notes at II.i.4 that he will use the term "operations" (or "actings of our own minds") in a large sense, "as comprehending not barely the actions of the mind about its ideas, but some sort of passions arising sometimes from them, such as is the satisfaction or uneasiness arising from any thought." The suggestion that there is a close interaction between the cognitive and the affective dimensions of mind, or between activity and passivity in its functioning will be explored in this paper as bearing decisively on Locke's theory of 'personal identity' and of the constitution of the self. The aim will be to confront two large sections of the Essay, one that explicitly formulates the theory of the person and defines the criterion of 'self-consciousness' (II.xxvii, 'Of Identity and Diversity') and one that elaborates on a theory of the passions by discussing the will and liberty as springing from 'uneasiness' (II.xxi, 'Of Power').

The clue for a correlation of these two sections comes from the very development of Locke's arguments in II.xxvii, where there is a smooth transition from a definition of personal identity as consciousness of oneself as oneself (or as pure operation of the mind on its own activities, another name for the 'internal sense' of reflection) to a definition in terms of 'concern' for oneself, 'accountability' for one's actions and 'responsibility'. Straddling both definitions is the notion of 'appropriation' - of oneself and of one's actions - which also introduces into the concept of self as person the essential dimension of temporality. It is this latter, moral pole of the definition of person, centered around the concept of 'action', that makes possible, in interpretation, the link with the domain of the passion of uneasiness, which is also 'the chief, if not only spur to human industry and action'.

The premise of this analysis is that there are points of tension in Locke's elaboration of both the theory of personal identity and of the theory of the will as determined by uneasiness and that these separate yet related tensions may be resolved in an interpretation alive to the discursive component of the way Locke's 'person' posits itself in the moment 'now'.

To explain: on the one hand, there is tension between an understanding of self as self-transparent fixed point, emerging atemporally out of the temporal flux, and an understanding of self as that very progressive recognition and appropriation of itself, as immersed in its own temporality. My suggestion is that if there is a discrete moment of recognition in which the 'I' 'can consider itself as itself', extracted from the temporal flux and made available to pure cognitive scrutiny, it is only by means of a discursive configuration of the moment 'now', itself immediately absorbed into the on-going reconfiguration of 'myself': a moment 'now' at which the person can say, as if between inverted comas, 'this is me, myself', while this very utterance becomes a new element of a definition of 'myself' that is always in process.

On the other hand, within the domain of 'uneasiness', there is tension between the view that uneasiness as desire always determines our wills, and thus our actions, and the view that we are apt to 'suspend desire' and correct our 'tastes', to govern our passions and thus act as truly free agents. Otherwise put, this is to ask: how can I maintain at the same time that all my thoughts and actions are spurred by uneasiness and that I am capable of a decision and course of action that does not spring from uneasiness, but is meant to curb uneasiness? Again, I propose that implicit in Locke's account is a human capacity to project oneself onto a discursive level where judgement can cultivate its own passion precisely because of the ambivalent status of 'uneasiness' - between passivity and activity, between the involvement of affect and the distancing of judgement, an active passion inscribed among the operations of the mind as a 'concern for happiness'. The movement by which a person will re-orient its own uneasiness in making decisions as to its happiness is, I argue, co-extensive with the positing of a 'now' which makes self-consciousness possible always within the horizon of appropriation through time.

I also suggest that such themes underlie the complex web of narrative levels in a literary piece like Robinson Crusoe, for instance, where the emergence of an autobiographic 'I' - the 'I' that can 'consider itself as itself' and becomes capable of educating itself into a narrative character - is preceded by and continually at grips with a (fictionally construed) state of indistinct actions and passions of a self 'less than self'.

11.30-12.00

Pause café

12.00-12.45

Ioana MANEA, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris

Usages de la raison chez Descartes et Grotius

Résumé : Le XVIIe siècle, qui promeut pour la première fois dans la démarche scientifique le raisonnement rigoureux et suivi, témoigne d'une confiance mesurée dans les facultés intellectuelles de l'homme. De ce fait, pour le bon sens ou le sens le mieux partagé du monde, il n'y a plus de bornes, même dans le domaine religieux, jusque là sacré et intouchable.

René Descartes, à qui la pensée et la sciences modernes sont tributaires de cette perception, n'y arrive qu'au bout d'un cheminement intellectuel au cours duquel la pratique du doute méthodique, prenant des proportions hyperboliques, ne laisse surgir qu'une seule certitude, celle du Cogito. Par la suite, se prévalant d'une pensée qui l'emporte sur le corps sans pour autant l'occulter complètement, il accepte comme seul critère de véracité la clarté et la distinction des idées issues de son jugement.

Se débarassant d'un topos de la pensée médiévale subsistant jusqu'aux temps modernes, entériné par la scolastique et hérité d'Aristote, qui insistait sur la fonction médiatrice entre les sens et l'intellect remplie par les fantasmes ou les images et privilégiant la pensée analogique, Descartes ne craint pas de minimiser le rôle de l'imagination et de donner accès à son esprit aux réalités matérielles autant qu'immatérielles, comme Dieu.

Quant à l'origine des idées qui nourrissent l'activité cognitive du sujet, elle ne cesse de donner du fil à retodre aux chercheurs. À part les idées innées, qui relèvent de l'essence même de l'être humain, les autres idées, telles les idées adventices ou factices, sont envisagées comme le résultat des mouvements physiologiques du cerveau. Ressortissant à l'obscure union entre le corps et l'esprit, celles-ci sont conçues soit comme un simple effet mécanique, soit comme une conséquence qui dérive de l'herméneutique inconsciente des signes formels fournis par la dynamique du cerveau. Toujours est-il qu'à ce propos on a émis parfois des opinions qui paraissent assez extravagantes de nos jours, redevables néannmoins des fictions prisées à l'époque, qui attribuent à un homunculus le rôle d'interpréter l'activité physique du cerveau.

À la différence de Descartes, dont la pensée a acquis une notoriété incontestable, la diffusion de l'oeuvre de Grotius, un savant qui de son vivant a joui d'une certaine renommée, reste confinée dans les milieux restreints des érudits du XVIIe siècle.

Le contenu de son Meletius, rédigé en 1611 mais demeuré inédit jusqu'en 1984, est à relier au contexte de l'époque, où les lettrés éclairés s'aperçoivent que, faute de chemin raisonnable vers une Église unique, l'entente intraconfessionnelle s'impose come une nécessité. Pour ce faire, ils ont recours à la religion naturelle, appelée ainsi parce qu'elle est naturelle à l'entendement humain. Cependant, pour Grotius, qui s'attache à démontrer la prééminence de la religion chrétienne sur toutes les autres religions, la religion naturelle ne représente qu'un point de départ pour le christianisme.

Sans ignorer l'importance de la révélation ou de l'autorité des anciens, Grotius appuie sur le rôle de l'esprit comme voie vers le Souverain Bien, ou, en d'autres mots, vers Dieu. Faisant appel à l'argument stoïcien de la hiérarchie des êtres, Grotius établit l'existence de Dieu qui, foncièrement bon et libre, a créé le monde pour un homme censé lui rendre un culte.

Par ailleurs, cette apologie de la religion chrétienne rend Grotius assez différent de Descartes qui, dans ses Méditations, s'ingénie à trouver les fondements sur lesquels il puisse bâtir la science. Néanmoins cet appel à l'esprit dans un domaine où tout jugement était défendu aux laïcs tout au long de la période précédant la modernité, pourrait bien annoncer la démarche cartésienne, qui érige la raison en faculté maîtresse.

12.45-13.30

George FLONTA, University of Bucharest

In welcher Beziehung stehen Geist und Materie zueinander?

Résumé: This is a paper on the relation between mind and matter. My goal is to elaborate this very traditional and significant problem in the history of modern philosophy.

The problem of how mind and matter are related to one another is as old as humanity. It has well been characterized as Weltknoten, the dissolution of which nobody has yet managed (to use Schopenhauer's words). I attempt to argue that this problem belongs among the paramount topics of philosophy. Therefore I show that it is no surprise that it has intensely occupied such brilliant minds as, for instance, Plato and Aristotle, as well as Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz. The theories of these last three Continental Rationalists--and especially that of Leibniz--will be briefly presented and afterwards closely criticised.

I then elaborate the idea that, since the rise of modern science, matter has ceased to be regarded as the correlate of form. I explain why a new problem has arisen: namely, how to understand their mutual relation. However, psycho-physiological parallelisms like those of Spinoza and Leibniz, as well as ontological reductionism, lead to unsolvable problems, as I endeavour to show in detail. In addition, I attempt to argue--in a personal manner--that an epistemological solution in the Kantian sense, one that excludes all ontological implications, is unsatisfying as well.

Further, I develop the thesis that mind and matter influence one another not only in the human being itself, but also in the relation between nature and culture. Physiological processes may influence our emotions, as well as our judgements. Moreover, the meaning of an event may cause somatic diseases, as one of my favourite illustrations indicates. In the latter part of my paper, I search for an answer to the following question: what is the sense of "causation" in this context?

I finish by putting forth a personal perspective with reference to the following perennial question: what happens when humans die? Do all spiritual processes disappear together with the disappearance of bodily functions? In almost all cultures, there lies within this question the mystery regarding the connection of mind and matter.

I conclude that mind and matter are connected to one another in numerous ways. All of these are only some of the theses and questions which I propose to discuss.

14.00-15.00

Déjeuner

15.00

Départ pour Moneasa

17.15-18.00

Mihai SÂRBU, University of Cluj

Atomism before atomism and the shape of the Universe

Though it surfaced in different times and different contexts, the theory of atoms has never really been popular. With the rise of the modern worldview all this has changed, and after a long struggle about the validity of the idea and the nature of the atoms themselves, science accepted them as a pillar of all the basic theories of matter.

During Renaissance, when the traditional theories of scholasticism were in crisis, and a rising tide of (neo)Platonism, hermetism and Alchemy was coming over Europe, the atoms were once more rediscovered, not only as a teaching to be opposed in the articles of the various Summas, but as a possible explanation for changing substances in the alchemical experiments. In the 15th century the atoms were presented as a solution for a completely different problem, this time of a purely speculative nature, by a German cardinal, Nicolaus Cusanus. In one oaf his writings, De Ludo Globi, completed in 1463, he faces a problem, regarding the extention of space.

He considers that the whole Universe cannot have dimensions, because it is perfectly round and perfect roundness has no dimensions. That means that the outer surface and the center of the Universe coincide in what he calls "the same atom".

Thus the Universe is not finite, as he has already pointed out in his 1440 writing De Docta Ignorantia. But how can space subsist? The solution is given by a theory of a plurality of atoms, each without any dimension, but - strangely - not immaterial, that are distinct from one another. They form lines, surfaces, and three-dimensional space. Though we do not arrive just yet to a theory of matter as extension, that will have to wait until Descartes, the question of extension of space in an in(de)finite Universe, and the atomic solution to the problem, has a strange resemblance with the debates waged two hundred years later.

Bibliography

Nicholas of Cusa, De Ludo Globi, at http://www.cla.umn.edu/jhopkins/.

Elisabeth Brient, Transition to a Modern Cosmology: Meister Eckhart and Nicholas of Cusa on the Intensive Infinite, in Journal of the History of Philosophy 37:4 october 1999, 575-6000.

Jean-Michel Counet, Mathématiques et dialectique chez Nicolas de Cuse, Libraire PhilosophiqueJ. Vrin, Paris, 2000.

Dennis Des Chene, Physiologia: Natural Philosophy in Late Aristotelian and Cartesian Thought, Cornell University Press, 1996.

Karsten Harries, Problems of tge Infinite: Cusanus and Descartes, in American Catholic Philosophical Quaterly 1, 1990, p. 89-110.

18.00-18.30

Pause café

18.30-20.00

Dr. Catalin AVRAMESCU, New Europe College, Bucharest

Thomas Hobbes and the Science of Casuistry

Résumé: The aim of my paper is to show to what extent Thomas Hobbes' new science of politics is related to the science of the cases of conscience. I will attempt to demonstrate that the rigorous science of politics which Hobbes claims to have invented in De Cive (1642) is advanced as a revised species of casuistry. More specifically, the arguments and the purpose of this science are, to a certain extent, common with those of the casuists, whose work Hobbes was aware of.

20.30

Dîner

 

 

Samedi, 11 Septembre

 

 

Excursion

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dimanche, 12 Septembre

 

 

 

8.30-11.30

Transfert de Moneasa à Arad