Life and Death in Early Modern Philosophy – Call For Papers

Life and Death in Early Modern Philosophy
Conference of the European Society for Early Modern Philosophy and the British Society for the History of Philosophy.
Birkbeck College London and Kings College London
14-16 April, 2016

During the early modern period, upheavals in science, theology and politics prompted philosophers to grapple with two highly-charged questions. What are the limits of life? What are the possibilities of life? Pursuing the first, they probed the relation between life and death. What is it to be a living thing? What distinguishes life from death? In what sense, if any, do living things survive death? Exploring the second question, they turned their attention to the character of a truly human life. What is it for human beings (or particular kinds of human beings) to live well? What role does philosophy play in this process? Is living well an individual project, a political one, or both?

Each of these themes has recently attracted renewed interest among historians of early modern philosophy, and the conference aims to explore them as broadly as possible. The program will be comprised of invited speakers and speakers drawn from an open call for papers. Please see below for details

Confirmed Plenary Speakers:

  • Michael Moriarty, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Ursula Renz, Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt, Austria
  • Lisa Shapiro, Simon Fraser University, Canada
  • Mariafranca Spallanzani, University of Bologna, Italy
  • Charles Wolfe, University of Gent, Belgium

Submissions are invited from researchers of all levels, including Ph.D. students, and on any aspect of the conference theme.

To submit, please email an abstract – maximum 800 words and anonymised for blind review – to Susan James ( The heading of the email should be ‘ESEMP/BSHP abstract’ and the email should contain the author’s details (name, position, affiliation, contact details). The deadline for abstract submission is 20 October, 2015.

Scholars who plan to attend the conference should register by emailing the organizer, Susan James ( by 7 March, 2016 to give us an accurate idea of numbers.

Further details about registration and funding will be posted in October.