Oberto Marrama - New Voices Research Profile

My primary research area is early modern philosophy of mind. I am fascinated by 17th-century theories which question the Cartesian mind-body paradigm and challenge common ways of understanding the nature and boundaries of conscious life in the universe.

My publications have mainly concerned the philosophies of Spinoza, Hobbes, and Descartes. After having devoted my doctoral studies to Spinoza, I am now turning to Margaret Cavendish’s account of thinking matter, to explore the way in which she dealt with the existence and limits of conscious life in nature. My current research project “Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) on consciousness and non-human mentality” is funded by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, and included among the activities of the Academy of Finland project “Thick Subjects: A Reconsideration of Early Modern Views of the Self” (PI Vili Lähteenmäki) at the University of Oulu. An updated version of this project (“Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) in the history of European ideas of consciousness”) has been granted an MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship, which will be carried out at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice from September 2023.

My doctoral thesis (Groningen/Trois-Rivières, 2019) investigated Spinoza’s accounts of consciousness, memory, and reason, relating them to current debates in consciousness studies. It demonstrated the pivotal role that Spinoza attributes to memory in shaping the way in which humans perceive the world, explaining how, within his philosophy, memory interacts with one’s emotional life and reasoning processes. The first chapter, published in 2017 in the British Journal for the History of Philosophy, provided new solutions to long-standing interpretive problems concerning Spinoza’s panpsychism. The research received funding from the Laboratoire sur l’histoire et la pensée modernes at the UQTR, the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture, and the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen.

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Contact: oberto.marrama@oulu.fi

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