Coming to Rome in 2024: PHYSIS Summer Convivium

Author: Costanza Montanari

The PHYSIS initiative for the study of pre-modern nature,  in collaboration with the History of Philosophy Forum and the Reilly Center, is organizing its first Summer Convivium, scheduled to take place in Rome during the summer of 2024!

The Medieval Institute, the Center for Italian Studies, and the Rome Global Gateway have awarded a planning grant to Denis Robichaud, the John and Patrice Kelly Associate Professor of Liberal Studies and Director of PHYSIS, and his team, composed of Thérèse Scarpelli Cory, the John and Jean Oesterle Associate Professor of Thomistic Studies and director of the History of Philosophy Forum, and Robert Goulding, Associate Professor of Liberal Studies and Director of the Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values.

The grant will support a collaborative program entitled PHYSIS Summer Convivium, a week-long advanced summer research seminar and a two-day public conference held at the Rome Global Gateway. Eight graduate students and eight researchers or faculty members, half from Notre Dame and half from Rome, will be invited to participate in the convivium, the first of which will take place in the summer of 2024 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),” explains Robichaud.

“On the one hand, countless thinkers from the pre-Socratics to medieval philosophers either reduced nature into a small number of 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. 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.”

Learn more about funding opportunities at the Rome Global Gateway.

Originally published by Costanza Montanari at on June 08, 2023.