Christia Mercer, "Renaissance and Early Modern Platonisms"


Thursday, November 12, 2015, 5:00pm to 6:30pm


Gould Hall

Many historians continue to believe that something called 'Neo-Platonism' stands at the core of Renaissance thought. Some historians of philosophy persist in searching for Plato’s ideas in canonical early modern texts. In her book project, Platonisms in Early Modern Thought, Christia Mercer maintains that the Platonisms of early modern Europe are much more interesting and varied than these traditional approaches would have us believe and that we will not understand their philosophical commitments and variety without a proper sense of their historical sources. In this seminar, Professor Mercer will explicate central philosophical problems motivating ancient Platonists, discuss the most influential solutions to those problems (e.g., Augustine), and reveal the rich diversity of Renaissance and early modern Platonisms.

This one hour seminar presentation will be followed by a half-hour discussion.

 Christia Mercer is Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, general editor of Oxford Philosophical Concepts, and co-editor of Oxford New Histories of Philosophy. Her books include Leibniz's Metaphysics: Its Origins and Development and Exploring the Philosophy of Anne Conway. Her recent awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Folger Library. She is presently a Visiting Professor at Villa I Tatti.