Fabrizio Baldassarri sitting in front of a bookshelf

Fabrizio Baldassarri

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (Jan 2020-Mar 2020)


Fabrizio Baldassarri (PhD, Philosophy and Anthropology, University of Parma; BA/MA, University of Bologna) is currently Principal Investigator of the research project “The Overlooked History of Vegetal Life: From the Vegetative Soul to Metabolism in Early Modern Philosophy and Biomedicine” at ICUB in Bucharest. Fabrizio has held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, a Journal for the History of Philosophy Kristeller-Popkin fellowship at Utrecht University, a postdoctoral fellowship at Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv, and a DAAD postdoctoral fellowship at the Gotha Research Centre, Erfurt. From 2017 to 2018, he taught medical humanities at the University of Padua. His research focus is the study of plants in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century natural philosophy, botany, and medicine.

Fabrizio has organized sessions and panels at several conferences, such as “Manipulating Flora,” which is now a special issue of Early Science and Medicine (2018), and “Vegetative Powers.” He is currently organizing a conference on “Non-Linear Narratives” (Bucharest, March 2020) and a workshop on the light and shadow of Cartesian medicine (Pisa, May 2020).

Fabrizio has published widely on Descartes’s philosophy and medicine, and on the study of botany in the early modern period. He is working on a monograph on Descartes’s medical philosophy and on three edited volumes.



  • Vegetative Powers: The Roots of Life in Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Natural Philosophy, ed. by F. Baldassarri, A. Blank, Cham: Springer, “International Archives of the History of Ideas.” Forthcoming.
  • “The Mechanical Life of Plants: Descartes on Botany,” in British Journal for the History of Science 52 (2019): 41–63.
  • “Descartes’ Bio-Medical Study of Plants: Vegetative Activities, Soul, and Power,” in Early Science and Medicine 23 (2018): 509–529.
  • Controversies in Intellectual History and Medicine: The Case of Losers, Heretics, and Outsiders, ed. by F. Baldassarri, in Society & Politics 12(1), Spring 2018.
  • [P]er experientiam scilicet, vel deductionem.' Descartes’ Battle for Scientia in the Early 1630s,” in Historia Philosophica 15 (2017): 115–133.


No current projects were found for this scholar.

The Vegetative Soul and Plants in the Study of Living Bodies


Past Events

Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

A Clockwork Orange: Citruses and Fruits in Early Modern Philosophy

Scientiae 2019, Queen Mary University of Belfast

The Functions of the Vegetative Soul in Seventeenth-Century Alchemical and Mechanical Interpretative Strands

RSA, Chicago

Descartes' Botanical Studies and the Dutch Experimental Communities: Methodical Experiments, Catalogs, Natural Histories

RSA, HU Berlin

Between Dead and Living Bodies. Rethinking Descartes’ Sciences of Life

New York City Workshop in Early Modern Philosophy, Fordham University, NY City