Early Modern Interest Group

Meeting time: Friday afternoons (about every other week—see the calendar below), 1:30–3:00 pm Central time
Meeting place: online via Zoom

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. For more information, please contact Jessica Gordon-Roth (gordo216@umn.edu) or Dwight Lewis Jr (lewi1715@umn.edu).

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 Jessica Gordon-Roth (gordo216@umn.edu) or Dwight Lewis Jr (lewi1715@umn.edu) so an invitation can be extended.

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Spring 2022

Please join our mailing list for the zoom invitation or email mcps@umn.edu

This semester EMIG will be reading selections from Anton Wilhelm Amo's writings. The readings are available through the University of Minnesota Libraries.

  • January 28: Amo’s Tractatus de arte sobrie et accurate philosophandi  [Treatise on the Art of Soberly and Accurately Philosophizing] (1738) Special Part II, Chapter 2, Division 7, pg 200 – 204 and De humanae mentis APATHEIA [On the Apathy of the Human Mind] (1734)
  • February 11: Amo’s Disputatio philosophica continens ideam distinctam eorum, quae competunt vel menti vel corpori nostro vivo et organico [A Philosophical Disputation Concerning a Distinct Idea of those things that Pertain Either to the Mind Or to our Living and Organic Body] (1734)
  • February 25: Amo’s Tractatus (1738) General Part, Chapter 1, pg 95 - 111
  • March 4: No meeting
  • March 11: No meeting Spring Break
  • March 18: Amo’s Tractatus (1738) General Part, Chapters 2 – 6, pg 112 – 134
  • April 1: Amo’s Tractatus (1738) Special Part I, pg 135 - 161
  • April 15: Amo’s Tractatus (1738) Special Part II, pg 162 – 184
  • April 29: Amo’s Tractatus (1738) Special Part III, Chapters 1 – 3; Special Part IV, pg 185 – 207; 242 – 252

Fall 2021

This semester, EMIG will be reading selections from Catharine Trotter Cockburn's writings.

  • September 24: Samuel Clarke's A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God (1705) (Vailati edition), pg. 3-8; 46-79. 
  • October 8: Catharine Trotter Cockburn's Remarks upon some Writers in the Controversy concerning the Foundation of Moral Virtue and Moral Obligation; particularly the Translator of Archbishop King’s Origin of Evil, and the author of the Divine Legation of Moses (1743), as found in the Birch edition (vol I), pg. 380-416.
  • October 22: Catharine Trotter Cockburn's Remarks upon some Writers in the Controversy concerning the Foundation of Moral Virtue and Moral Obligation; particularly the Translator of Archbishop King’s Origin of Evil, and the author of the Divine Legation of Moses (1743), as found in the Birch edition (vol I), pg. 416-450.
  • November 5: meeting canceled
  • November 19: Catharine Trotter Cockburn's Remarks upon the Principles and Reasonings of Dr. Rutherforth’s Essay on the Nature and Obligations of Virtue: In vindication of the contrary principles and reasonings, enforced in the writings of the late Dr. Samuel Clarke (1747), as found in the Birch edition (vol II), p. 1-37. 
  • December 3: Catharine Trotter Cockburn's Remarks upon the Principles and Reasonings of Dr. Rutherforth’s Essay on the Nature and Obligations of Virtue: In vindication of the contrary principles and reasonings, enforced in the writings of the late Dr. Samuel Clarke (1747), as found in the Birch edition (vol II), p. 37-70.
  • December 17: Catharine Trotter Cockburn's Remarks upon the Principles and Reasonings of Dr. Rutherforth’s Essay on the Nature and Obligations of Virtue: In vindication of the contrary principles and reasonings, enforced in the writings of the late Dr. Samuel Clarke (1747), as found in the Birch edition (vol II) p. 70-107.

Previous EMIG topics