Philosophy at St Andrews

Hannah Laurens

PhD student

Hannah Laurens

Thesis: Aristotle on the Intellect

Supervisors: Sarah Broadie, Barbara Sattler

Nationality: Dutch

Degrees: BA in Philosophy (Birkbeck), MA in Political, Legal, and Economic Philosophy (Bern), BPhil in Philosophy (Oxford)




My research focuses on Aristotle’s theory of the intellect: how do we acquire knowledge and how does the intellect operate? Aristotle’s metaphysics and psychology come together, rendering a fascinating picture of his view on intellectual development and activity. In addition, I work on Spinoza, specifically on Spinoza’s notions of eternity and Scientia Intuitiva.


'Finite in Infinity: Spinoza's Conception of Human Freedom Explained through his Metaphysics,' in: Stance 2012



Selected Presentations

'Concepts and Principles in Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics II.19'

▪           (invited) Northern Association of Ancient Philosophy, annual conference 2018


'Spinoza & British Empiricism'

▪           (invited) seminar for the Dutch Spinoza Society, annual summer school 2018


'Aristotle’s nous: A Purely Potential Actuality'

▪           PG Session, Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, 2017


'An Eternal Part of the Body? Spinoza on Human Existence beyond Life and Death'

▪           Life and Death in Early Modern Philosophy, Conference of the ESEMP/BSHP, 2016


'Functions as Essences: an Aristotelian Analysis of Aesthetic Artefacts'

▪           Conference of the European Society for Aesthetics, 2016

▪           2nd British Society for Aesthetics Postgraduate Conference, 2016

▪           Aristotelian Themes in Metaphysics, Boğaziçi University, 2016

▪           3rd Women in Philosophy Conference, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 2016


'Reconsidering Spinoza's Rationalism: Overcoming the Passions through Scientia Intuitiva'

▪           6th Scottish Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, St Andrews, 2015

▪           6th Princeton-Penn-Columbia Graduate Conference in Early Modern Philosophy, 2015

▪           1st Collegium Spinozanum, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 2015

▪           15thBucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, 2015


'Attention determines Action'

▪           18th British Postgraduate Philosophy Association Conference, 2015

▪           22nd Kent State Graduate Philosophy Conference, 2015

Other interests


AHRC Studentship for doctoral research                 

Cyril Joad Prize for top BA results, Birkbeck College

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