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DATE: Tuesday, November 24
TIME: 1 PM Princeton time (EST) / 8 PM Bucharest time (GMT+2)
PANEL : The Philosophy of Anne Conway
SPEAKERS: Jonathan Head (Keele University), Jasper Reid (King’s College London) & Natalia Strok (University of Buenos Aires – CONICET)
Much of the recent scholarship on the philosophy of Anne Conway has focused on the nature of her metaphysical monism. In this talk, after clarifying the terms of the debate, I am going to argue for a ‘type monist’ interpretation, according to which Conway postulates an infinite number of created substances. In addition to offering arguments in favour of my interpretation, I will also critique competing ‘existence monist’ and other middle-ground interpretations that have been offered in the literature.
In my talk, I intend to discuss Conway in relation to the Lurianic kabbalah. I shall begin by examining the extent of Conway’s acquaintance with kabbalistic literature: which texts did she probably did know, and which would have been unavailable to her? I shall then consider the use she made of certain kabbalistic concepts, but also warn against the danger of seeing more kabbalah in her work than is really there.
In this talk I would like to explore the concept of natural justice that Conway addresses in her Principia Philosophiae. I want to show that, although everything is reunited in one essence in the third kind of substance in her metaphysics, there is a distinction between nature, in general, and human nature, in particular. She presents a hierarchy of beings that has human nature as the principal one, and a framework of transmutations, that tends toward good, in spite of the possibility of going toward bad. I will pay attention to the mechanism of transmutations that Conway presents and the punishments to the sinful nature, as divine justice.