Ms Laura Griffiths

No image provided

Contact details

Ms Laura Griffiths
Academic Services Librarian
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Charles Clore House 17 Russell Square London WC1B 5DR
020 7862 5820
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Publication Details

Publications available on SAS-space:

Date Details
The First of the Moderns or the Last of the Ancients? Bernardino Telesio on Nature and Sentience


Bernardino Telesio’s philosophy of nature marked a momentous change in the philosophical panorama of late Renaissance. By redefining the notion of sentience (sensus) as the ability, inherent in the two principle forces of the universe (heat and cold), to react and adapt to a reality in constant change, Telesio championed a view of nature and man that radically departed from the principles of Aristotle’s natural philosophy. In developing his new notion of sentience, Telesio insisted on the aspects of receptivity and awareness. Through the first, he stressed the primary role of pneumatic matter (spiritus), understood as a thin, supple and swift vehicle capable of accounting for all material changes in the universe ; through the second, he raised the property of self-perception to the level of a universal natural property. This allowed him to replace the key Aristotelian concept of unintentional teleology with the idea of a self-organising power inherent in nature and to endow the material spirit with the ability to feel and react to all phenomena occurring in the universe (spiritus omniscius omnino). By relying on subtly discerning tendencies of pursuit and avoidance, Telesio’s spirit was thus capable of preserving life at all levels, both higher and lower, physical and ethical.

Synesian Dreams. Giacomo Cardano on dreams as means of prophetic communication


Girolamo Cardano conceived and outlined his four books on dreams ac-cording to Synesius’ philosophy between 1535 and 1537. Originally divided into ten books, the volume underwent subsequent modifications until it was pub-lished in 1562. We know from Cardano’s own testimony how the key episodes in his life were always heralded or accompanied by dreams. From this point of view, the 1562 summa on dreams reflects one of the most critical of such moments. As Jean-Yves Boriaud explains in the introduction to his new Latin edition and French translation of Somniorum Synesiorum libri quatuor, in the year prior to the composition of this work, Cardano was undergoing intense dream activity as a result of the tragic execution in 1560 of his son Giovanni Battista, who had been charged with poisoning his wife. From that moment on, the death of his son would represent a watershed moment in both his life and literary career. For this reason, too, Somniorum Synesiorum libri quatuor deserves to be considered as one of Cardano’s most important writings and Boriaud’s edition should be saluted as a notable accomplishment.

Introduction: Tommaso Campanella and the arts of writing


An introduction to vol. XVIII, no. 1 of Bruniana & Campanelliana.

Fazio and His Demons: Girolamo Cardano on the art of storytelling and the science of witnessing


Fazio Cardano, Girolamo Cardano’s father, plays a key role in Girolamo’s philosophi-cal investigations. This article focuses on Girolamo’s use of Fazio as an authoritative figure in matters of demonic apparitions and explores the boundaries – not always clearly defined – between storytelling and reliable witnessing in Cardano’s accounts of family memories, reported speeches and preternatural phenomena.

The Eternal Return of the Same Intellects. A new edition of Girolamo Cardano's De Immortalitate Animorum


The Metaphysical Implications of Campanella's Notion of Fiction


Campanella’s notion of fiction (fabula) hinges upon a multilayered view of reality based on a series of ontological divisions : ens rationis divinae, ens reale, ens rationis, ens irrationalitatis and non ens. They identify levels of being that span the full range of reality, from a minimum to a maximum degree (an ontological spectrum that in Campanella’s philosophy is closely connected to the Telesian criterion of self-preservation). According to Campanella, any human foray into the territories of ‘being of reason’, ‘being of unreason’ and even ‘non being’ is always balanced by a natural ‘return’ to being and reality. This article intends to contextualise Campanella’s views on fiction within the broader framework of his metaphysics.

Philosophy According to Tacitus: Francis Bacon and the Inquiry into the Limits of Human Self-Delusion


Bacon belonged to a cultural milieu that, between the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, proved to be especially receptive to infuences coming from such continental authors as Machiavelli, Bodin, Duplessis-Mornay, Hotman, and, through Lipsius, a particular brand of Stoicism tinged with Tacitean motifs. Within the broader question of Tacitus’ infuence on Tudor and Stuart culture, this article focuses on the issue of how Bacon’s characteristic insistence on the powers of the imagination (fingere) and of belief (credere) in shaping human history may have infuenced his view that human beings suffer from an innate tendency to self-delusion.

What Ever happened to Francis Glisson? Albrecht Haller and the Fate of Eighteenth-Century Irritability


This article investigates the reasons behind the disappearance of Francis Glisson’s theory of irritability during the eighteenth century. At a time when natural investigations were becoming increasingly polarized between mind and matter in the attempt to save both man’s consciousness and the inert nature of the res extensa, Glisson’s notion of a natural perception embedded in matter did not satisfy the new science’s basic injunction not to superimpose perceptions and appetites on nature. Knowledge of nature could not be based on knowledge within nature, i.e., on the very knowledge that nature has of itself; or – to look at the same question from the point of view of the human mind – man’s consciousness could not be seen as participating in forms of natural selfhood. Albrecht Haller played a key role in this story. Through his experiments, Haller thought he had conclusively demonstrated that the response given by nature when irritated did not betray any natural perceptivity, any inner life, any sentiment interi´eur. In doing so, he provided a less bewildering theory of irritability for the rising communities of experimental physiology.

Relevant Events

Related events:

Date Details
Back to top