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The medicine of the mind and natural philosophy in early modern England: A new interpretation of Francis Bacon


The aim of the project is to provide a groundbreaking new interpretation of Francis Bacon's natural philosophy. The original aspect of this project will consist in a new contextualisation of Bacon's philosophy. We argue that his work can be seen as one of the most characteristic products of what we have decided to call, for reasons of heuristic and exegetical convenience, the medicine of the mind. This project is interdisciplinary in both the method we are going to apply and the object we are going to study, for this investigation represents a study on early-modern interdisciplinarity. The movement known as Renaissance Neostoicism, especially in its French version, will be a key element in our argument. The objectives of the project are, first, to provide an unconventional interpretative angle to the study of the transmission of Stoic ideas; second, to show their intertwinement with religious models of self-analysis and, most of all, to highlight the combined influence of Stoic and Reformed models of introspection on Bacon's natural philosophy. We argue that Stoic materialism, from its inception, entailed the view that human appetites could not be explained and tamed without connecting them to the very appetites of nature. Our reconstruction of varieties of British medicine of the mind, permeated by Stoic ideas, will throw much needed light on the way in which Bacon looked for a new method that could allow man to master both the appetites of matter and the appetites of society. In more general terms, our reconstruction of the British contexts of the medicine of the mind will provide a crucial missing link in the contemporary narratives of the scientific revolution.

Call for proposal

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Host institution

EU contribution
€ 532 926,00
WC1E 7HU London
United Kingdom

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London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Guido Giglioni (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Catherine Charlton (Ms.)
Total cost
No data

Beneficiaries (2)