Mogens Lærke is a senior researcher at the CNRS, visiting from the research institute IHRIM (CNRS, UMR 5317) at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. After finishing his PhD at the University of Paris IV in 2003, he held positions at Aarhus University, the Carlsberg Foundation, Tel Aviv University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Aberdeen. He has been a researcher at the CNRS since 2013. He obtained his habilitation at the ENS de Lyon in 2014. Lærke is currently the secretary of the British Society of the History of Philosophy (BSHP), the managing editor of the BSHP New Texts in the History of Philosophy series from Oxford University Press, and the founder and co-organizer of the annual conference Scottish Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy (SSEMP). He specializes in early modern philosophy.
Lærke’s main project while at the MFO is in the history of philosophy of science (HOPOS) and is provisionally entitled The Common Notion: Science and Consensus in the Seventeenth Century. It takes a look at the pre-history of the contemporary notion of “scientific consensus” by looking at the seventeenth-century reception of the stoic concept of “common notions” (koinai ennoiai, or notitiae communes) among natural philosophers in particular. The idea of “common notions” is omnipresent and tightly woven into the epistemological fabric of the century. Common notions and consensus arguments are extensively discussed in the texts by many of the most important intellectual figures of the time, including Justus Lipsius, Francis Bacon, Edward Herbert of Cherbury, Michel de Montaigne, Gabriel Naudé, François La Mothe Le Vayer, Hugo Grotius, René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, Petrus Ramus, Kenelm Digby, Johannes de Raey, Pierre Gassendi, Ralph Cudworth, Nathaniel Culverwell, Pierre-Daniel Huet, Benedict Spinoza, Nicolas Malebranche, Pierre Bayle, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus, Nicolas Steno, John Locke, and a great many others. Lærke’s project ultimately aims at providing a kind of intellectual—both philosophical and historical—cartography of these discussions. He also works, intermittently, on a small book with the working title An Economy of Distempers. Hobbes, Harrington, and the Body Politics in the Seventeenth Century.
Lærke has published widely on early modern metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of religion and political philosophy, and on historiographical methodology, including in the Journal of the History of Philosophy (x4), British Journal for the History of Philosophy (x6), Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy (x2), The Leibniz Review (x5), History of Political Thought, Journal of the History of Ideas, and Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, among others. Monographs include Leibniz lecteur de Spinoza. La genèse d’une opposition complexe (Champion 2008) and Les Lumières de Leibniz. Controverses avec Huet, Bayle, Regis et More (Classiques Garnier 2015). A new book on Spinoza’s and the Freedom of philosophizing is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in early 2021. He is the editor or co-editor of numerous volumes, including (with D. Garber, P.-F. Moreau, P. Totaro) Spinoza: Reason, Religion, and Politics (Oxford University Press, forthcoming); (with L. Catana) The Historiography of Philosophy, 1800-1950 (special issue of the British Journal of the History of Philosophy, 2020); (with R. Andrault) Steno and the Philosophers (Brill, 2018); (with D. Rabouin and C. Leduc) Leibniz. Lectures et commentaires (Vrin, 2017); (with P.-F. Moreau and R. Andrault) Spinoza/Leibniz, Rencontres, Controverses, Réceptions (Presses Universitaires de Paris-Sorbonne 2014); (with E. Schliesser and J.E.H. Smith) Philosophy and its History. Aims and Methods in the Study of Early Modern Philosophy (Oxford University Press 2013); The Use of Censorship in the Enlightenment (Brill 2009); and (with M. Kulstad and D. Snyder) The Philosophy of the Young Leibniz (Studia Leibnitiana Sonderheft35, Franz Steiner Verlag 2009).