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The Online Olios: Rogue Thoughts, October 9, 2021

Esteemed Cavendish Colleagues,

We are delighted to announce that the second annual Online Olios webinar series will take place this October 2021. We invite you to participate and to share widely!

We have a great line-up! Registration can be found on Digital Cavendish here:

Rogue Thoughts: October 9th

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM EDT

Cavendish scholars across the humanities have worked to undercut the myth of Cavendish as a mad writer. Indeed, we now see Cavendish as avant garde, perhaps, but not crazy, and we also recognize that her work engages deeply with contemporary debates in natural philosophy. But we have not spent enough time investigating how Cavendish herself views mental illness on a physiological and conceptual level. Her materialist theory of mind suggests that madness arises from irregular motions in the material parts of our minds, a kind of conscious contagion whereby certain parts decide to “pattern” or mimic irregular motions of other parts. Her thinking on this topic opens questions about irregularity–which is not unnatural, but rather atypical–and about the nature of free will, as well as her potentially normative understanding of orderly nature. How does imagination support or threaten that balance or regularity? And how might her concept of mental productivity anticipate or diverge from later thinkers who fetishized mental distress?

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