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.