Conference: Early Modern Medicine of the Mind

Early Modern Medicine of the Mind

30-31 May 2014, Warburg Institute, London

Speakers will include: Fabrizio Baldassarri (Università di Parma), Fabrizio Bigotti (Warburg Institute), Davide Cellamare (Radboud University Nijmegen), Annalisa Ceron (Università del Piemonte Orientale), Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest), Claire Crignon (Paris Sorbonne), Guido Giglioni (Warburg Institute), Angus Gowland (UCL), Rina Knoeff (University of Groningen), Lionel Laborie (Goldsmiths), Gideon Manning (Caltech), Pieter Present (Ghent University), Kathryn Tabb (University of Pittsburgh), Koen Vermeir (CNRS, Paris), Catherine Wilson (University of York/Rice University) and Charles Wolfe (Ghent University).

The idea of the cure and care of the soul, seen as parallel or complementary to the cure and care of the body, became increasingly popular in the early modern period, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. It is certainly not by accident that such phrases as ‘medicine of the soul’ and ‘medicine of the mind’ were often used in a wide range of therapeutic contexts. The workshop intends to explore the extent to which early modern ways of curing and caring for one’s soul can be seen as a bridging category that functioned across a number of interrelated disciplines (natural and moral philosophy, logic, medicine and theology). The following are some of the questions that will be at the centre of our discussions: Can such phrases as ‘medicine of the mind’ and ‘medicine of the soul’ be given firm conceptual and historical definitions? Can they be taken as evidence that patterns of medical thinking were being imported into the domain of moral and theological discourse, or that the opposite trend was in fact taking place?

We propose to reconstruct the early modern project of the ‘medicine of the mind’ in its shifting, sometimes conflicting iterations: from Renaissance articulations of humoural medicine with philosophical or theological cures of the soul, through seventeenth-century attempts at rethinking the relationship between the two medicines, of the mind and of the body, to eighteenth-century medical-philosophical developments which adopt increasingly materialist positions.

Organised bySorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest), Guido Giglioni (Warburg Institute) and Charles Wolfe (Ghent University).

To register, please visit the conference webpage.


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