Announcing the 2024 PHYSIS Summer Convivium: Elements of Nature / Elements of Reasoning

Author: Christopher Enabnit

The History of Philosophy Forum is proud to cosponsor the 2024 PHYSIS Summer Convivium:

2024 PHYSIS Summer Convivium: Elements of Reasoning / Elements of Nature

The University of Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway

17-20 June, 2024, Rome

PHYSIS: the Notre Dame Laboratory for the Study of Nature in the Premodern World, housed in the University of Notre Dame’s John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values, in conjunction with the Notre Dame History of Philosophy Forum and with financial support of the Medieval Institute is seeking graduate student applicants to participate in a week-long advanced summer research seminar on the topic of Elements of Nature / Elements of Reasoning.

A distinctive feature of premodern philosophy and science is the organization of nature, reasoning, and methods into elements (στοιχεῖα). On the one hand, countless thinkers from the pre-Socratics to medieval philosophers either reduced nature into one or two, then four or five elements (earth, water, air, fire, and aether) or developed atomistic models, whether materialist or mathematical. On the other hand, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians in the premodern world also conceived of elements of reasoning as they developed axiomatic methods of demonstration and argumentation. Perhaps the most famous example of this kind of reasoning is Euclid’s Elements (Στοιχεῖα), but other ancient and medieval thinkers composed works in elemental modes and formulated axiomatic methods. These two threads in the premodern history of philosophy and science are often studied independently, but careful examination identifies commonalities and attempts to connect the phenomena.

The seminars will be held in Rome at the University of Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway from 17-20 June, 2024 and will consist of 8 research faculty and 8 graduate students. All participants will be responsible for leading a research seminar on a related topic. Successful applicants will receive room and board for the duration of the Convivium.

Confirmed Seminar Faculty Participants


  • Riccardo Chiaradonna, Università degli Studi Roma Tre
  • David Cory, University of Notre Dame
  • Therese Cory, University of Notre Dame
  • Robert Goulding, University of Notre Dame
  • Jan Opsomer, De Wulf-Mansion Centre for Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy, KU-
  • Vincenzo de Risi, CNRS, France and Max Plank Institute for the History of Science, Berlin
  • Denis Robichaud, University of Notre Dame
  • Luca Tuninetti, Pontifica Università Urbaniana

Call for Graduate Student Applications to the Program

Applicants need to be enrolled in a graduate program (MA, PhD, or equivalent) and submit the following
three items:

  1. a short CV
  2. 500 word description of research interest and / or thesis project, with a proposal for a seminar
    presentation and key texts to be discussed
  3. a brief endorsement via email from the student’s advisor (a letter of rec. is not necessary)

Please submit all of the required materials at by 15 February, 2024.

Successful applicants will be responsible for a $250 fee to help defray the costs of organizing the seminar.

View Graduate Student CFA as PDF (3.9 MB)