What is on the mind of Dr Andrea Christofidou?
Wednesday 21 June, 2017
One of the aims of the ASC is to highlight and communicate the work of Keble staff, researchers and Fellows. Here we mention some recent activities of Dr Andrea Christofidou.
One of the aims of the ASC is to highlight and communicate the work of Keble researchers. Dr Andrea Christofidou teaches Philosophy at Keble College. After the publication of her book “Self, Reason, and Freedom: A New Light on Descartes’ Metaphysics” (2013, Routledge), and one of her papers was selected as one of the best articles of ‘Philosophical Investigations Journal’ in 2015 (read more here
), her expertise in Descartes has been acclaimed around the world. Here we mention some of her recent activities.
In November 2016, she was invited to be a panelist at a workshop entitled “Early Modern Panel”, a two-day event organised by the Early Modern Philosophy Seminar Series at the National University of Singapore. Andrea gave a paper on: 'Descartes on the Mind-Body Relation: A Solution'. In her own words she argued, “Drawing on Descartes’ work, that his Principle of Causality makes no assumptions and imposes no demands on the nature of the relata. Causality is a metaphysically basic category, unanalysable and irreducible. This leads to Descartes’ argument that the supposition of the impossibility of heterogeneous causal interaction “is false and cannot in any way be proved.” The question of mind–body relation presupposes the uniqueness of mind-body union, which for Descartes is constitutive of what it is to be a person. No other causal interactions presuppose a substantial union. By drawing on Descartes’ complex and insightful replies to various objections, especially in his letters to various critics, I defend his explanation and offers a solution to the putative problem that has preoccupied philosophers for nearly four centuries. Despite what we have been led to believe, Descartes himself did not think there was a mind–body problem.”
In early April 2017, Andrea was invited to the Scottish Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy VIII at the University of Edinburgh, where she participated in a session on Descartes and presented a much revised version of her paper from Singapore. The seminar was sponsored by the Scottish Philosophical Association, the British Society for the History of Philosophy, and the University of Edinburgh. See the full seminar programme here
In late April 2017, Andrea was again invited to a workshop on 'The Cogito' – Descartes’ first indubitably true proposition usually translated as “I am thinking, therefore I am – at Ligerz, Switzerland. This workshop was sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation. There Andrea presented a paper on: 'Descartes' Cogito: its status, nature, and significance', in which she discussed Descartes’ celebrated proposition ‘I am, I exist’, demonstrating the centrality of freedom to its discovery, and offering a novel solution to the long-standing debate concerning its status and nature. In her words “The solution depends on drawing an important distinction between two kinds of order which seems to have escaped Descartes’ critics past and present. I then set up the real force of a Lichtenbergian objection, presenting it in as strong form as possible, irrespective of whether Lichtenberg intended it so. I argue that Descartes’ conception is well placed to rebut it, and thus establishes the cogito’s unassailability and the self’s irreducible reality and openness to the objective world.”
Keble is proud to have researchers like Andrea who are passionate about their work, contribute at an international level to contemporary discourse in their chosen subject and who are able to challenge and inspire others in the field. Find more about Andrea’s work here
Photo: Andrea Christofidou at 'The Cogito' conference in Ligerz, Switzerland with the Alps behind her.