Online Summer School In History of Philosophy

Author: Claire Murphy

Groningen Summer School

Our friends at the University of Groningen have announced an online summer school on methodology in the history of philosophy. The school will take place on July 5-9, 2021. This is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with scholars worldwide on topics central to the discipline. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Kobus Marais (UFS South Africa)
  • Delphine Antoine-Mahut (ENS Lyon)
  • Christia Mercer (Columbia University)
  • Charles Pence (UCLouvain)
  • Martin Lenz (University of Groningen)
  • Laura Georgescu (University of Groningen)
  • Jan-Willem Romeijn (University of Groningen)
  • Jan van Ophuijsen (University of Utrecht)

The application deadline for attendees is June 1, 2021. Those interested in applying can find more information on the summer school website, as well as below: the summer school organizers graciously offered to do a brief interview with us about the program!


1. What led you (the department and/or individual scholars) to organize this summer school? 

In Groningen we have some tradition in fostering methodological reflections; sometimes we organize more internal workshops within our department, but sometimes more open events like this summer school. This is actually the second edition of another methodological summer school we hosted in 2017.


2. What are you hoping to achieve (i.e. educational and/or research goals)? 

Raising awareness about methodological issues connected with studying history of ideas and philosophy. This year we are also particularly interested in reflecting on how to possibly integrate different qualitative and more quantitative methods together, hence fostering the dissemination of DH (digital humanities) in the field of (history of) philosophy as well.


3. What new scholarly skills or techniques will students learn?

  • Understand the role of minor figures in contemporary historiography of philosophy
  • See how network analysis can be used to study historical phenomena
  • Know possible uses of digital humanities for history of philosophy
  • Have awareness of the problems of the philosophical canon


4. What methodologies are distinctive to history of philosophy that make it different from history or philosophy? 

The discipline can be constructed in many ways. One way of seeing it is as a hybrid that combines together methods used both in history proper (reconstruction of contexts, analysis of texts, philological tools etc.) and to philosophy proper (rational reconstruction, analysis of arguments, theoretical reflection etc.). Alternatively, history of philosophy might also be valued not for what is distinctive of it (what makes it different from history or from philosophy) but for its not being exclusive, namely, its ability of not keeping any particular method outside of the field. If at some point we need to establish what a certain author meant by using a certain term, we can freely resort to philology and historical reconstruction. But if at another time we need to interpret the implications or validity of a certain argument, we can also freely resort to a more rational reconstruction, and perhaps then assess whether and to what extent that would have sound solid to any of the author's own contemporaries, and if not reflecting on what this teaches us on our own assumptions.