Could we understand thinking as an activity of life, rather than as an abstract logical operation? How could we make sense of the (human) mind as something living, or as fundamentally instantiated by living beings? How can we model the characteristic dynamics of mental development, self-formation, and personal growth? Is the life of the mind as real as or even more real than the life of organisms? This colloquium draws together various models of the ‘life of the mind’ from across the history of philosophy.

April 4-5, 2024, University of Notre Dame

History of Philosophy Forum

Website with registration

Conference Program

All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

Thursday, April 4

Unless otherwise noted, all Thursday sessions will take place in 215 McKenna.

8:45–9:20 a.m. Continental breakfast

9:20–9:30 a.m. Welcome

9:30–10:30 a.m. Aristotle’s Prime Mover: Paradigm of Life and Self-Love 
Hannah Laurens, University of Oxford

10:30–10:45 a.m. Coffee break

10:45 a.m.–11:45 p.m. Plotinus on the Wave of the Mind
Wiebke Marie Stock, University of Notre Dame

11:45–12:45 p.m. Augustine’s Inward Turn 
Scott MacDonald, Cornell University

12:45–2:15 p.m. Lunch, (216 McKenna)

2:15–3:15 p.m. Mind and Mental Existence in Avicenna
Jari Kaukua, University of Jyväskylä

3:15–3:45 p.m. Coffee break

3:45–4:45 p.m. Minimal Minds: Anti-Representationalism in the High Middle Ages
Peter John Hartman, Loyola University Chicago

4:45–5:00 p.m. Coffee break

5:00-6:00 p.m. Life and the Mind in Anne Conway and Margaret Cavendish
Julia Jorati, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Friday, April 5

Unless otherwise noted, all Friday sessions will take place in 215 McKenna.

8:45–9:15 a.m. Continental breakfast

9:15–10:15 a.m. Kant on the Feeling of Life in Aesthetics and Beyond
Alix Cohen, University of Notre Dame

10:15–10:45 a.m. Coffee break

10:45–11:45 a.m. Activity and Actuality in Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind
Gerad Gentry, Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz

11:45–12:45 p.m. What Does the Unity of Consciousness Tell Us about the Soul? Exploring Lotze’s Answer
Mark Textor, King’s College London

12:45–2:15 p.m. Lunch 216 McKenna Hall

2:15–3:15 p.m. Actuality Precedes Possibility: Henri Bergson‘s Notion of the “Life of the Mind”
Anne Clausen, University of Göttingen

3:15–3:45 p.m. Coffee break

3:45–4:45 p.m. The Life of the Mind: From Kant to Edith Stein
Katharina Kraus, Johns Hopkins University

4:45–5:00 p.m. Coffee break

5:00-6:00 p.m. Concluding discussion