WAR - In this section

• Project initiated in 2009 as the initiative of Dr (now Professor) Guido Giglioni, with funding from a European Research Council Starting Grant under the European Community’s 7th Framework Programme. Now approaching completion.

• Objectives: to recover a corpus of knowledge on the notion of medicina mentis, which, in its Baconian definition, became part of the language of experimental philosophy and of early modern science in the 16th and 17th centuries. This area of knowledge straddles a variety of different fields and has therefore escaped the attention of scholars working on the history of natural philosophy. Its recovery makes possible a new and fruitful reading of Bacon’s programme for the reformation of knowledge.

The project was led by Dr Giglioni at the Warburg Institute and was carried out in conjunction with the New Europe College (Colegiul Noua Europă) in Bucharest. The research team consisted of Dr Giglioni, Dr Sorana Corneanu (New Europe College), Dr Dana Jalobeanu (New Europe College) and James Lancaster (Warburg Institute).

The image shows the globe from the title-page of Francis Bacon, Sylva sylvarum or a Natural History in Ten Centuries, London 1631.

Medicine of the Mind

The project focused on an important, but previously unexplored, intellectual context for Francis Bacon’s philosophy: sixteenth- and seventeenth-century projects for the ‘medicine of the mind’, or medicina mentis. This phrase was used by a number of early modern philosophers, theologians, rhetoricians and physicians to refer to a set of practices for training and improving the powers of the mind. Those engaged in disciplines concerned with the medicine of the mind devised methods of training the soul and the body to work together towards the attainment of forms of practical wisdom. Within these disciplines, they provided regimens for living the good life, cures for the passions and methods of controlling one’s own thought, as can be seen in the writings of John Woolton (1535?-1594), John Abernethy (d. 1639), Thomas Rogers (c. 1553-1616), Thomas Wright (c. 1561-1623) and Robert Burton (1577-1640).

Funding for the Medicine of the Mind project was provided by a European Research Council Starting Grant under the European Community’s 7th Framework Programme, awarded to Dr Guido Giglioni. This financed the five-year research stage of the project which began in December 2009 and was carried out in conjunction with the New Europe College (Colegiul Noua Europă) in Bucharest.

The aim of the project was to recover a corpus of knowledge which, precisely because it straddles a variety of different fields, seems not to have filled any specific institutional niche or disciplinary pigeonhole in the early modern system of knowledge and has therefore escaped the attention of scholars working on the history of natural philosophy in this period. The recovery of this background will make possible a new and fruitful reading of Bacon’s programme for the reformation of knowledge. The project also explored the way in which, during the second half of the seventeenth century, the notion of medicina mentis, in its Baconian definition, became part of the language of experimental philosophy and of early modern science.

Medicines of the mind in 16th and 17th century philosophy encompass unexplored intellectual territory. During this time, theologians, rhetoricians and physicians devised methods for training the soul and the body to work together. As an interdisciplinary prototype, stoic ideas were intertwined with religious models of self-analysis. As a result, they provided regimens for living the good life, cures for passions and methods of controlling one's own thoughts.

Innovative views about Bacon's natural philosophy have been disseminated via conferences, workshops and seminars. The five years of research have also resulted in collaborations with other scholars working on Bacon and early modern intellectual history. Arriving at an intersection of various historical disciplines, including early modern philosophy, theology, medicine, science and literature, the work has helped to establish a better understanding of Bacon's natural philosophy.

The research team at the Warburg Institute consisted of Guido Giglioni and James Austin Taylor Lancaster, PhD student, who both concentrated on topics that, within the broader context of Bacon’s ‘medicining of the mind’, intersect with domains such as natural philosophy, medicine and practical divinity. Particular attention was devoted to investigating possible influences coming from the Stoic tradition, especially in its late Renaissance incarnations, and closely related to this, to exploring the notion of ‘appetite’, in relation to the human body, the body of the universe and the body politic, as it appears in the writings of Bacon and his contemporaries.

From the Final Report Summary: ‘The Medicine of the Mind and Natural Philosophy in Early Modern England: A New Way of Interpreting Francis Bacon’ is a five-year ERC research project based at the Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London, and carried out in conjunction with New Europe College (Colegiul Noua Europă) in Bucharest. The research team is comprised of Guido Giglioni (Warburg Institute), Sorana Corneanu (New Europe College), Dana Jalobeanu (New Europe College) and James Lancaster (Warburg Institute). The project focuses on an important, but as yet unexplored, intellectual context for Francis Bacon’s philosophy, i.e., sixteenth- and seventeenth-century ‘medicines of the mind’, understood by a number of philosophers, theologians, rhetoricians and physicians at the time as a set of practices for training and improving the powers of the mind. In various ways, they devised methods for training the soul and the body to work together towards the attainment of forms of practical wisdom. Within these disciplines, they provided regimens for living the good life, cures for the passions and methods of controlling one’s own thought, as can be seen, among others, in the writings of John Woolton (1535?-1594), John Abernethy (d. 1639), Thomas Rogers (c. 1553-1616), Thomas Wright (c. 1561-1623) and Robert Burton (1577-1640). The aim of the project is to recover a corpus of knowledge which, precisely because it straddles a variety of different fields, seems not to have filled any specific institutional niche or disciplinary pigeonhole in the early modern system of knowledge, and has therefore escaped the attention of scholars working on the history of natural philosophy in this period. The recovery of this background will make possible a new and fruitful reading of Bacon’s programme for the reformation of knowledge. The project also explores the ways in which, during the second half of the seventeenth century, the notion of medicina mentis, in its Baconian definition, became part of the language of early modern philosophy and science.

Through the workshops and colloquia organized in Bucharest (13-15 May 2010 and 1-2 March 2013) and London (17-18 June 2011, 14-15 June 2013 and 30-31 May 2014), and through participation in other conferences and seminars (annual meetings of HOPOS, ISIH, RSA, EAHMH, ISNS and seminars in Oxford and Princeton), the four members of the ERC project (SC, GG, DJ and JL) have disseminated innovative views about Bacon’s natural philosophy and established a series of collaborations with other scholars working on Bacon and early modern intellectual history (such as Peter Anstey, Daniel Garber, Peter Harrison, Howard Hotson and Brian Vickers). GG and JL are collaborating with the Oxford Francis Bacon (OFB) project (new edition of his works published by Oxford University Press); DJ and SC have consolidated their connections with Princeton University through the annual Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy in Bran, Romania and a seminar on Bacon’s Sylva sylvarum held at Princeton (14-27 May 2012). Because of the very nature of the topics, and given the intellectual training and background of the four investigators, the achievements resulting from the five years of research have taken on a distinctive interdisciplinary physiognomy; intersecting various fields in the historical disciplines, such as early modern philosophy, theology, medicine, science and literature. Together, workshops, seminars, colloquia and publications have helped to create a more historically and conceptually nuanced understanding of Bacon’s natural philosophy.

The project’s output includes: one special issue of each Early Science and Medicine [17 (2012), pp. 1-271] and Perspectives on Science [20 (2012), pp. 135-267], the first concerned with Bacon’s natural history, the second with the historical contextualisation of his medicina mentis; three books [SC, Regimens of the Minds (Chicago 2011); GG, Francesco Bacone (Rome, 2011); DJ, Casa lui Solomon sau fascinaţia utopiei (Bucharest, 2011)]; and a number of articles, all of which have been specified in the individual reports of the team members. A volume collecting papers from the conferences organized at the Warburg Institute in June 2011 and June 2013 is forthcoming by Springer.

Publications

(Date of last publications update: 19 May 2018)

Monographs and edited volumes

2016

• Francis Bacon on Motion and Power, ed. Guido Giglioni, James A. T. Lancaster, Sorana Corneanu and Dana Jalobeanu (Dordrecht: Springer, 2016)

2015

• The Care of the Self in Early Modern Philosophy and Science, ed. Sorana Corneanu, special issue of Journal of Early Modern Studies, 4.2 (Bucharest: Zeta Books, 2015)

• Dana Jalobeanu, The Art of Experimental Natural History: Francis Bacon in Context (Bucharest: Zeta Books, 2015)

• James A. T. Lancaster, ‘The World’s a Bubble: Francis Bacon, Nature, and the Politics of Religion’, PhD dissertation, Warburg Institute (University of London, 2015)

2014

• Sorana Corneanu, Knowledge, Selves, Virtues: Cross-Disciplinary Studies in Early Modern Literature, Science and Philosophy (Bucharest: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti, 2014)

2012

• Perspectives on Science, vol. 20 (2012), no. 1-2, special issue on Francis Bacon and the Medicine of the Mind: Late Renaissance Contexts

• Early Science and Medicine, vol. 17 (2012), no. 2, special issue, Proceedings of a workshop on ‘Francis Bacon and the Early Modern Reconfiguration of Natural History’ held in Bucharest, New Europe College 

2011

• Sorana Corneanu, Regimens of the Mind: Boyle, Locke, and the Early Modern cultura animi Tradition (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2011)

• Guido Giglioni, Francesco Bacone (Rome: Carocci, 2011)

• Casa lui Solomon: Sau fascinaţia utopiei: ştiinţă, religie şi politica in Anglia secolului al XVII-lea, ed. Dana Jalobeanu (Bucharest: Editura ALL, 2011)

Editions and translations

2017

• Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum. O istorie naturală în zece centurii, transl. Dana Jalobeanu, Doina Cristina Rusu, Oana Matei, Claudia Dumitru and Grigore Vida, with an introduction and commentary by Dana Jalobeanu, volume II of Francis Bacon, Opere filosofice, edition coordinated by Dana Jalobeanu (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2017)

2012

• Francis Bacon, Cele două cărți ale lui Francis Bacon despre progresul și excelența cunoașterii, traducere si note de Dana Jalobeanu și Grigore Vida, studiu introductiv de Dana Jalobeanu (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2012), Humanitas 2012 (this is the first Romanian translation of The Advancement of Learning)

Articles and chapters

2018

• Guido Giglioni, ‘Fienus, Bacon, Helmont: An Early Modern Triptych on Unnatural Conceptions’, in Imaginationes des Ungeborenen: Kulturelle Konzepte pränataler Prägung von der Frühen Neuzeit zur Moderne Imaginations of the Unborn: Cultural Concepts of Prenatal Imprinting from the Early Modern Period to the Present, ed. Urte Helduser and Burkhard Dohm (Heidelberg: Winter, 2018), pp. 31–49

2017

• Sorana Corneanu, ‘The Nature and Cure of the Whole Man: Francis Bacon and Some Late Renaissance Contexts’, Early Science and Medicine 22.2-3 (2017), 130-156

• Dana Jalobeanu, ‘“Borders,” “Leaps” and “Orbs of Virtue:” A Contextual Reconstruction of Francis Bacon’s Extension-Related Concepts’, in Boundaries, Extents and Circulations: Space and Spatiality in Early Modern Philosophy, ed. Koen Vermeir and Jonathan Regier (Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 41) (Dordrecht: Springer, 2017)

2016

• Sorana Corneanu, ‘Francis Bacon on the Motions of the Mind’, in Francis Bacon on Motion and Power, 2016 (listed above)

• Guido Giglioni, ‘Imagination and Power in Francis Bacon’, in Immaginazione e potere, ed. Lorenzo Bianchi and Antonella Sannino (Naples: Bibliopolis, 2016), pp. 101-141

• Guido Giglioni, ‘Medicine of the Mind in Early Modern Philosophy’, in The Routledge Handbook of the Stoic Tradition, ed. John Sellars (London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 189-203

• Guido Giglioni, ‘Introduction: Francis Bacon and the Theologico-Political Reconfiguration of Desire in the Early Modern Period’, in Francis Bacon on Motion and Power, 2016 (listed above), pp. 1-39

• Guido Giglioni, ‘Lists of Motions: Francis Bacon on Material Disquietude’, in Francis Bacon on Motion and Power, 2016 (listed above), pp. 61-82

• Guido Giglioni, ‘Cupido, sive Atomus; Dionysus, sive Cupiditas: Francis Bacon on Desire’, in Francis Bacon on Motion and Power, 2016 (listed above), pp. 154-173

• Dana Jalobeanu, ‘Disciplining Experience: Francis Bacon’s Experimental Series and the Art of Experimentation, Perspectives on Science, 24 (2016), pp. 324-342

• Dana Jalobeanu, ‘Bacon’s Apples: A Case Study in Baconian Experimentation, in Francis Bacon on Motion and Power, 2016 (listed above), pp. 83-113

• James A. T. Lancaster, ‘Francis Bacon on the Moral and Political Character of the Universe’, in Francis Bacon on Motion and Power, 2016 (listed above)

2015

• Dana Jalobeanu, ‘The Toolbox of the Early Modern Natural Historian: Notebooks, Commonplace Books and the Emergence of Laboratory Records’, Journal of Early Modern Studies, 4 (2015), pp. 107-123

2014

• Sorana Corneanu, ‘Francis Bacon on Charity and the Ends of Knowledge’, in Conflicting Values of Inquiry: The Ideologies of Epistemology in Early Modern Europe, ed. Tamas Demeter, Kathryn Murphy and Claus Zittel (Leiden: Brill, 2014), pp. 339-352

• Guido Giglioni, ‘The Place of the Imagination in Bacon’s and Descartes’ Philosophical Systems’, in Bacon et Descartes: Genèses de la modernité philosophique, ed. Élodie Cassan (Lyon: ENS Éditions, 2014), pp. 101-113

• Guido Giglioni, ‘From the Woods of Experience to the Open Fields of Metaphysics: Bacon’s Notion of Silva’, Renaissance Studies, 28 (2014), pp. 242-261

• Dana Jalobeanu, ‘The French Reception of Francis Bacon’s Natural History in the Mid Seventeenth Century’, in Bacon et Descartes: Genese de la modernite philosophique, ed. Elodie Cassan (Lyon: Editions ENS, 2014)

2013

• Guido Giglioni, ‘Francis Bacon’, in The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century, ed. Peter R. Anstey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 41-72

• Guido Giglioni, ‘Learning to Read Nature: Francis Bacon’s Notion of Experiential Literacy (Experientia Literata)’, Early Science and Medicine, 18 (2013), pp. 405-434

• Guido Giglioni, ‘How Bacon Became Baconian’, in The Mechanization of Natural Philosophy, ed. Daniel Garber and Sophie Roux (Dordrecht: Springer, 2013), pp. 27-54

• Guido Giglioni, ‘The Uncomfortable Biformitas of Being: Bacon on the Animal Soul’, in The Animal Soul and the Human Mind: Renaissance Debates, ed. Cecilia Muratori (Pisa and Rome: Serra, 2013), pp. 190-207

• Dana Jalobeanu, ‘Francis Bacon, Early Modern Baconians and the Idols of Baconian Scholarship: Introductory Study’, Societate si Politica, 7 (2013), pp. 5-28

Dana Jalobeanu, ‘Learning from Experiment: Classification, Concept Formation and Modeling in Francis Bacon’s Experimental Philosophy’, Revue Roumaine de philosophie, 57 (2013), pp. 75-93

2012

Sorana Corneanu and Koen Vermeir, ‘Idols of the Imagination: Francis Bacon on the Imagination and the Medicine of the Mind’, Perspectives on Science, 20.2 (2012), pp. 183-206

Guido Giglioni, ‘Historia and Materia: The Philosophical Implications of Francis Bacon’s Natural History, Early Science and Medicine, 17 (2012), pp. 62-86

Guido Giglioni, ‘Philosophy According to Tacitus: Francis Bacon and the Inquiry into the Limits of Human Self-Delusion’, Perspectives on Science, 20 (2012), pp. 159-182

James A. T. Lancaster, ‘Natural Histories of Religion: A (Baconian) “Science”?’, Perspectives on Science 20.2 (2012), pp. 246-267

James A. T. Lancaster, ‘Natural Knowledge as a Propaedeutic to Self-Betterment: Francis Bacon and the Transformation of Natural History’, Early Science and Medicine, 17.1 (2012), pp. 181-196