University of Houston

Department of Philosophy
513 Agnes Arnold Hall
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-3004
Phone: 713.743.3010
Fax: 713.743.5162
Rice University

Philosophy Department
MS 14
Rice University
6100 South Main Street
Houston, TX 77005-1892
Phone: 713 348-4994
Fax: 713 348-5847

Background and Mission Statement

The Houston Circle for the Study of Early Modern Philosophy grew out of a discussion group organized several years ago by Mark Kulstad of Rice University and Gregory Brown of the University of Houston. The purpose of the original group was to facilitate the discussion of early modern philosophy and science among scholars and students in the Houston area. In addition to the founding members, the permanent membership now includes Helen Hattab, who recently joined the philosophy faculty at the University of Houston. Graduate students interested in the study of early modern philosophy and science, from both the University of Houston and Rice University, form an important and vibrant part of the current and ongoing membership.

To further its mission of promoting the discussion of early modern philosophy among scholars and students in the Houston area, the Houston Circle has hosted talks by a number of visiting scholars and students from outside Houston and Texas, some from as far away as Italy and Japan. Although the group does not have funding to cover the expenses of outside speakers, we do encourage scholars and students who may be passing through the area and who would be interested in presenting a paper to contact the group for a possible meeting. The Houston Circle also encourages students from throughout the United States and the rest of the world who are interested in studying early modern philosophy and science to consider applying for graduate study at one of the group's affiliated institutions—the University of Houston, which offers a terminal Master's degree in philosophy and strives to prepare students who are interested in entering a PhD program in philosophy, and Rice University, which has an established PhD program in philosophy. Both universities have very strong philosophy departments, but the combined strength of the two universities in early modern philosophy and science makes Houston an ideal location for students interested in this area of study. Professor Helen Hattab, at the University of Houston, is a specialist in Descartes and the Late Scholastics. Professor Gregory Brown, also at the University of Houston, is a specialist in Leibniz who has also done work on Descartes. Professors Hattab and Brown also work on the history of early modern science and the scientific revolution. Professor Mark Kulstad, at Rice University, is also a specialist in Leibniz, but he has also done work on Spinoza and his relation to Leibniz. Cooperation between the two universities allows students to take classes at both universities for credit at their home institution, and faculty at both institutions are available to serve as thesis and dissertation advisors and to serve on thesis and dissertation committees. The Houston Circle itself provides an important, additional resource for enriching the educational experience of students studying early modern philosophy and science in the Houston area.

Internet Resources

As part of its web presence, the Houston Circle is interested in providing online content of interest to scholars and students working in the area of early modern philosophy and science. Gregory Brown currently maintains Leibnitiana, an extensive website on Leibniz, which also incorporates the Leibniz Society of North America Newsletter.