Conferences – Aspectus and Affectus: Robert Grosseteste, Understanding and Feeling Conference

The Georgetown University Department of Philosophy and the Ordered Universe project ( will be hosting a conference at Georgetown University on March 31-April 1, 2017, and a public lecture, Modern Science, Medieval Studies and Art in Dialogue: Bishop Robert Grosseteste’s (c. 1170-1253) Scientific World of Light, Sound and the Big Bang, followed by a reception on March 31. The public is invited to attend both events.

The conference will explore the notions of understanding and feeling through the lens of Robert Grosseteste’s (c. 1170-1253) philosophical, scientific, and theological works. Grosseteste treats these notions in terms of a conception of the aspectus and affectus of the soul, a signature distinction employed throughout his career. Even so, these terms have longer histories of use and interpretation in the Middle Ages in both philosophy and spiritual contexts. The conference will be interdisciplinary in nature and feature papers from a wide range of disciplines, with international speakers, on the various themes raised by consideration of aspectus and affectus. Papers consider other uses of the terms in philosophical accounts of how the human mind works and in twelfth-century monastic writing, the inheritance from St. Augustine as used by Grosseteste in his treatise On the Liberal Arts, his collection of Dicta, and his Hexaemeron. Other fruitful avenues for exploring the implications of aspectus and affectus include medieval Arabic philosophy of science, and modern philosophy and science of perception and motivation.

For further details please visit the conference website or contact the conference organizer, Prof. Neil Lewis, at

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