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

Work Experience

Curator of exhibition on radical Dutch enlightenment philosopher Adriaan Koerbagh:

Het Spinozahuis (Rijnsburg), Embassy of the Free Mind (Amsterdam), Elisabeth Weeshuis Museum (Culemborg), November 2019-September 2020



Graduate Essay Prize of the British Society for the History of Philosophy, 2018

AHRC Studentship for doctoral research, 2016                

Cyril Joad Award for top BA results, Birkbeck College, 2012

<- back to student list