第一届鲁汶-北京前现代自然哲学史工作坊将于2021年12月10至11日线上召开，主题为“Materia, 气/Qì, and Their Epistemes”。
In their historical course, philosophy and science have looked at nature to find meaningful patterns, causes, and links able to explain the behaviour of natural phenomena: why they work the way they do and how they can be turned to human advance. A specific aspect of such historical query has been the study of the ontological structure of the natural world. Most philosophical traditions have postulated the existence of a physical or metaphysical substrate of the natural world: a subject over or into which physical change happens.
Our first Leuven-Beijing workshop in the history of premodern philosophy of nature focuses on such obscure substrate and the historical constructions aimed at unveiling it in the European and Chinese traditions. In later medieval Europe, natural philosophy was based on the Aristotelian claim that the physical universe has a hylomorphic constitution: it is made of matter and form. Approximately during the same period, Chinese thinkers elaborated a refined philosophy of nature whose physical and metaphysical foundation was grounded on the intertwining dynamic between 气 (qì) and 理 (lǐ): the universe is made of chunks of 气 in which 理 are instantiated. In both traditions, the “material” principle – materia and 气 – underwent an epistemic fragmentation into a plurality of disciplinary epistemes following the effort to grasp how such principle was supposed to work in theoretical and practical contexts (from metaphysics to alchemy, pharmacy, weather forecast, and so on).
Organised by Shixiang Jin (晋世翔) and Nicola Polloni (濮若一), the workshop delves into a series of ground-breaking questions about materia and 气 at different levels of the ongoing research in both Europe and China. Some of these questions indulge in the possibility itself of comparative history of philosophy. Is a syncretic analysis of Scholastic hylomorphism and Neoconfucian theories of 气 and 理 philosophically valuable and even feasible? What hidden stakes and unspoken misconceptions may arise from such philosophical venture? Other questions are instead grounded on the historical study of practitioners and their speculative context. How was the plurality of epistemes of materia and 气 linked to the ongoing debate on the ontological foundations of natural philosophy in Europe and China, respectively? And how was the philosophical debate influenced by practical sciences, if it was? By discussing relevant case-studies from the history of both philosophy and science, the workshop will examine how different instantiations of problems concerning the materiality of the world faced similar puzzles while attempting a plurality of solutions in premodern Europe and China.
The workshop aims to start a promising dialogue among scholars working on different fields and traditions and will be followed by an international conference that will take place in 2022. To this end, speakers are asked to give a short talk (10–13 minutes) followed by 10 minutes of q/a in which similarities in questions, methods, and solutions will be discussed. As a whole, both talks and discussions are like seeds sown on a fertile cross-disciplinary and comparative soil that will grow into promising flowers through the collaborations following the workshop and leading to the 2022 conference.
Kasra Abdavi Azar, KU Leuven
Vincenzo Carlotta, University of Bologna
Giulia De Cesaris, KU Leuven
Feng Du/杜锋, Southwest University
Qinyong Fan/樊沁永, Yangzhou University
Russell Friedman, KU Leuven
Che Jiang/蒋澈, Tsinghua University
Shixiang Jin/晋世翔, University of Science and Technology Beijing
Nicola Polloni/濮若一, KU Leuven
Thanasis Rinotas, KU Leuven
Sylvain Roudaut, University of Stockholm
Shenmi Song/宋神秘, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Guozhu Sun/孙国柱, China University of Political Science and Law
Mengmeng Sun/孙萌萌, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
Zita Toth, KU Leuven
Linwei Wang/王林伟, Wuhan University
Roberto Zambiasi, University of Turin
Donglin Zhang/张东林, Guangxi University for Nationalities