Tag Archives: Early modern philosophy

Petr Pavlas on Comenius’s Lingua Realis – a podcast

We are pleased to present the recording of last week’s fascinating lecture delivered by Dr Petr Pavlas (Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague & Free University, Berlin), which was dedicated to Johannes Amos Comenius’s linguistic project.

Johannes Amos Comenius on Lingua Realis

We are happy to invite you to a lecture

A Neglected Chapter in Seventeenth-Century Language Planning:
Johannes Amos Comenius’s Lingua Realis


Dr Petr Pavlas
(Filosofický ústav, Akademie věd České republiky, Praha & Freie Universität, Berlin)

Faculty of ‘Artes Liberales’, University of Warsaw, Nowy Świat 69,
4th floor, conference room

Thursday, June 8th, 5:00 p.m.


Jitse van der Meer and Richard Oosterhoff suggest that the unsuccessful Protestant attempt to mark out the boundaries of allegorical biblical exegesis and to fix the meaning of scriptural passages caused an awareness of the imperfection of the verbal language. Therefore, early modern philosophers “turned to nature” and strove to find the perfect language in mathematics and logic.

This hypothesis needs to be revised: already the entire Middle Ages had been aware of the corrupted nature of verbal language. Rather, the decisive impulse for the rise of the perfect language movement seems to have been the doctrinal plurality and confessional diversity following the Reformation.  For it was due to this that many turned to arguments from natural theology in order to persuade their opponents or establish doctrinal consent.  To avoid logomachy, some early modern philosophers sought to develop the perfect and universal language. One of these was Johannes Amos Comenius.

The aim of this paper is to outline Comenius’s design of the “real language” (lingua realis).  For this represents an important chapter in the history of early modern language planning.  In particular, the paper seeks to show how Comenius’s project – with its “logical purism”, its programme of “word as definition”, its combinatorial ambitions and its desire not to restore but to create the perfect language –  belongs to the early modern tradition of mathematizing thought. An important theme is the possible mutual influence between the different projects of Jan Amos Comenius, John Pell, Cheney Culpeper and Francis Lodwick. Overall, the paper is intended to complement Rhodri Lewis’s discoveries in this field, but from the perspective of Comenius studies.

Petr Pavlas is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Comenius Studies and Early Modern Intellectual History in the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy of the University of West Bohemia, Pilsen, Czech Republic. He is currently doing research on the idea of perfect language in the works of Johannes Amos Comenius at the Free University in Berlin. His publications include articles in English and Czech in Studia Comeniana et Historica, Teorie Vědy. Theory of Scienceand in volumes of studies.

The Tree of Knowledge – seminar schedule

We are pleased to announce the programme of our next event, a work-in-progress seminar on knowledge and structure of sciences and arts in late medieval and early modern thought. The seminar is organized by Dr Simon Burton and Dr Michał Choptiany, both of whom are postdoctoral fellows and assistant professors at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales”. All inquiries regarding the seminar should be sent to the following email address: arborscientiarum2015[AT]gmail.com.

The Tree of Knowledge: Theories of Sciences and Arts in Central Europe, 1400-1700

Faculty of “Artes Liberales” | University of Warsaw

28–29 May 2015

 Preliminary schedule


Thursday | 28 May

I. Morning session

Venue: Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, Nowy Świat 69, staircase B, 4th floor, conference room

10:00–10:15 Official welcome

10:15–11:45 Panel 1: Space, Objects and Production of Knowledge

Chair: Simon Burton (University of Warsaw)

Susanne Beiweis (University of Vienna), Magical objects as instrument of knowledge in Marsilio Ficinoʼs De vita

Yanan Qizhi (Pennsylvania State University), Spectacular Knowledge: the Use of Theatrical Spaces in Early Modern Kunstkammer

11:45–12:15 Coffee break

12:15–13:45 Panel 2: On the Concept of Method

Chair: Wojciech Ryczek (Jagiellonian University, Kraków)

Sandra Bihlmaier (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), Melanchthon´s concept of method and its conversion to Ramism: a late sixteenth century endeavor

Daniel Heider (University of South Bohemia), The Notitia Intuitiva and Notitia Abstractiva of the External Senses in Second Scholasticism: Suárez, Poinsot and Francisco de Oviedo

13:45–15:00 Lunch break


II. Afternoon session

Venue: Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, Dobra 72, floor -1, conference room


15:00–16:30 Panel 3: Between Ramism and Anti-Ramism: Bartholomaeus Keckermann and his Thought

Chair: Michał Choptiany (University of Warsaw)

Stefan Heßbrüggen (Higher School of Economics, Moscow), Keckermann on Studying History Philosophically

Wojciech Ryczek (Jagiellonian University, Kraków), Speaking freely: Keckermann on figure/idea of parrhesia

16:30–17:00 Coffee break

17:00–18:30 Panel 4: Theories of Knowledge in Practice

Chair: Stefan Heßbrüggen (Higher School of Economics, Moscow)

Lucie Storchová (Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague), Paginarius for School Needs: Reception of Ramism at the University of Prague after 1600

Michał Choptiany (University of Warsaw), Danzig readers of Ramus and Ramists: Keckermann & Co.


Friday | 29 May

III. Morning session

Venue: Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, Nowy Świat 69, staircase B, 4th floor, conference room


9:00–10:30 Panel 5: Method and Epistemology

Chair: Susanne Beiweis (University of Vienna)

Matthias Mangold (Evangelical Theological Faculty, Leuven), Lux et testimonium Dei in hominis mente: The concept of conscience and its formative role in the Cartesian epistemology of Johannes Braun (1628-1708)

Andrea Strazzoni (Erasmus University, Rotterdam), The Hidden Presence of Ramism in Early Modern Dutch Philosophy

10:30–11:00 Coffee break

11:00–13:00 Panel 6: Method and metaphysics – a longue durée?

Chair: Daniel Heider (University of South Bohemia)

Simon Burton (University of Warsaw), Scholastic Realism and the Transcendentals: The Influence of Julius Caesar Scaliger on Early Modern Ramism

Audrey Borowski (University College London), Leibniz’s Mathematico-Ontological method: transfiguring the infinite into the finite

Hayo Siemsen (University of Applied Sciences, Saarbrücken), The long-term empirical relevance of Ramus’ ideas: Comenius, Mach and genetic education

13:00–14:00 Roundtable discussion

Chairs: Simon Burton & Michał Choptiany

“Ye shall know them by their fruits”: Research Perspectives on Medieval and Early Modern Sciences and Arts

CFP: The Tree of Knowledge, 28-29 May 2015

We are happy to announce a call for papers for our next exciting event, organised by two members of our Commitee. For more details see below.

The Tree of Knowledge: Theories of Sciences and Arts in Central Europe, 1400−1700

Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw, Poland
Date: 28th–29th May 2015

Call for Papers

We invite submissions for papers to be given at the forthcoming seminar on theories of knowledge in late medieval and early modern Central European sources. The seminar is open to all scholars working in the field of early modern intellectual history, or related disciplines such as history of philosophy or theology, but contributions from younger scholars (doctoral candidates and post-doctoral fellows) are particularly invited. It seeks to investigate the way in which new currents of reflection on epistemology, the structure of knowledge, and the relations between arts and sciences impacted the intellectual culture of Central Europe on a variety of different levels: from philosophy of knowledge and theoretical reflection, through pedagogical organisation and methodology – the reform of schools and universities, to the wider dissemination of knowledge through print, and the fostering of national and international intellectual networks. A particular focus will be on Ramism and the reception of Ramist, pre-Ramist and post-Ramist models in diverse intellectual and religious milieus of Central Europe. In this way the seminar aims to place Ramism (broadly understood) in a wider intellectual trajectory, stretching back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance and looking forward to the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution.

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

• The medieval and Renaissance roots of Ramist method and pedagogy.
• The metaphysical and anti-metaphysical dimensions of Ramism.
• The development of Ramism and its relation to competing Aristotelian, Lullist, Baconian and Comenian methodologies.
• Central European readers of Ramist, Lullist and related sources.
• New models of knowledge and their relation to the new natural sciences.
• Ramism, the confessionalisation of knowledge and ‘universal reformation’.
• The impact of new models of knowledge on the teaching of particular arts in Central Europe.
• Students’ notes as a source of knowledge on pedagogical practice.
• New models of knowledge and publishing in early modern Central Europe.
• The relation of Central European intellectual developments to those elsewhere in Europe or the New World.

Conveners: Dr. Simon J. G. Burton, Dr. Michał Choptiany

Proposals should be sent to the following address: arborscientiarum2015@gmail.com. Abstracts for papers of 20 minutes should be between 250 and 350 words in length. All applicants are also required to submit a brief biography of 200 words or less. The deadline for paper proposals is 31st March 2015. The organisers reserve the right to select up to 20 papers. All applicants will be informed about the results of the selection process in the first week of April. All participants will be invited to submit a draft version of their papers to the organisers before the seminar in order to enable the circulation of manuscripts among the participants before the seminar. The conference fee is € 50 and will partially cover the costs of organisation.

Announcing the fourth volume in our series!

Polyphony of Traditions coverWe are happy to announce that the fourth volume of our series of studies on the Reformation in Poland and East-Central Europe has recently came out of the press. Polyphony of Traditions by Steffen Huber’s is monograph of the practical and theoretical philosophy of Andreas Fricius Modrevius. Huber’s work offers a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the thought of this eminent sixteenth-century philosopher and new insights into his Sylvae, the most complex and demanding philosophical and theological work in the entire legacy of Fricius.

For more details about the book as well its English summary, see here.