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Early Modern Interest Group

Meeting time: Fridays 1:30–3:00 PM (about every other week – see calendar below)
Meeting place: Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science library, 737 Heller Hall unless otherwise noted.

The early modern interest group (EMIG) reads and discusses primary and secondary literature focused on natural philosophy from the early modern period, especially in the work of key philosophers such as Descartes, Leibniz, and Kant. Our basis for selecting readings is to study works that are routinely ignored in the philosophy curriculum. Natural philosophical discoveries and debates are often pertinent to understanding why these philosophers adopted particular positions or rejected others, and our goal is to become familiar with a wide range of these neglected works.

Our meetings are informal, and some participants need to arrive late or leave early because of scheduling conflicts. All faculty and graduate students from the University of Minnesota and area colleges and universities are welcome to attend whenever they would like (without invitation), and without giving advanced notice. Undergraduates can be included by invitation. If you know of an undergraduate who is well suited and possibly interested, please contact Alan Love so an invitation can be extended.

Spring 2017

This semester the Early Modern Interest Group will be reading selections from David Hartley's Observations on Man, His Frame, His Duty, His Expectations (1749)

January 27: David Hartley's Observations on Man, His Frame, His Duty, and His Expectations: Chapter 1, Introduction (pp. 1-4) and Section 1 (pp. 5-55) (pdf)

February 10: Schabas, M. (draft manuscript) Proportioning Belief to the Evidence: Hume’s Methods and Objectives for the Science of Commerce. (pdf)
Margaret Schabas, Philosophy, University of British Columbia will be visiting

February 24: David Hartley's Observations on Man, His Frame, His Duty, and His Expectations: Chapter 1, Section 2 (pp. 56–84).

March 10: No meeting

March 17: No meeting

March 24: Géraud de Cordemoy: Six Discourses on the Distinction between the Body and the Soul and Treatises on Metaphysics translated by Steven Nadler. pp. 93–142. (pdf)
Steven Nadler
, Philosophy, University of Wisconsin will be visiting

March 31: Miller, D. work in progress. "Making Observation Evidence: Regressus, Galileo, and the Moon"; (pdf)
Optional background reading: Selections from On Methods, Volume 2 (Books III-IV), On Regressus by Jacopo Zabarella. (pdf)
David Miller
, Philosophy, Iowa State University will be visiting

April 21: John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Book II, Chapter 27: "Of Identity and Diversity" (pdf). Kathryn Tabb, Philosophy, Columbia University will be visiting

May 5: David Hartley's Observations on Man, His Frame, His Duty, and His Expectations: Chapter 1, Section 3 (pp. 85–114). (pdf)

Fall 2016

The focus of EMIG this semester will be Galileo and we will have many opportunities to engage with visiting Galileo scholars (see schedule for details). In addition to readings chosen for the days when we have visitors, selections from The Essential Galileo ( will anchor our other meetings.

September 16: Galileo's Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina, pp. 109–145 in The Essential Galileo. Eileen Reeves visiting

September 30: Selections from the Letter on Sunspots, pp. 97-102 in The Essential Galileo. Selections from the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, pp. 190-92, 201-213, 233-271 in The Essential Galileo.

October 7: "Letter to Castelli”, pp. 103–109 in The Essential Galileo; "Letter to Foscarini”, pp. 146–148 in The Essential Galileo; Foscarini, “Letter … Concerning the Mobility of the Earth” (pp. 217–237 only); Roman Inquisition's censure of the "Letter to Castelli" & Bellarmine's "Affidavit to Galileo”

Stefania Tutino will be visiting
837 Heller
***Note change of location***

October 14: Selections from Discourse on Bodies in Water in The Essential Galileo, pp. 85-96; selections from Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences in The Essential Galileo, pp. 295–367.

October 28: Selections from Sidereus Nuncius in the Essential Galileo (pp. 45–84; focus on pp. 45–69 and pp. 83–84)
Nick Wilding will be visiting

November 18: Ingoli's 1616 Letter to Galileo; Galileo's 1624 Reply to Ingoli; Graney, C. 2015. Setting Aside All Authority: Giovanni Battista Riccioli and the Science against Copernicus in the Age of Galileo. University of Notre Dame Press. Chapters 3–4 (focus on pp. 25–53 and 63–76)
Christopher Graney will be visiting

December 9: Selections from Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences in The Essential Galileo, pp. 295–367.

Previous Early Modern Interest Group topics

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