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

Helen Hattab
513 Agnes Arnold Hall
Department of Philosophy
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-3004

  • Education
    • Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania (1998). Dissertation: The Origins of a Modern View of Causation: Descartes and His Predecessors on Efficient Causes, Supervisor: Professor Lisa Downing
    • M.A. University of Pennsylvania (1994)
    • B.A. Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey)
      Major: Philosophy, May 1990; Departmental Honors in Philosophy
    • Diplôme Supérieur de Culture Française avec mention très bien, Sorbonne
    • University of Paris III, France; French Language, Literature and Civilization,(1988)
    • First Year, School of Translation and Interpretation, University, Switzerland; Translation: French and German to English, 1986-1987
  • Academic Postions
    • Assistant Professor in Philosophy and Honors College, University of Houston, 2003-present
    • Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Wabash College, July 2002-June 2003
    • Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC), 1999-2002
    • Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1998-1999
  • Areas of Specialization
    • Earlly Modern Philosophy
    • Late Medieval Scholasticism
    • Renaissance Philosophy
  • Areas of Competence
    • Ancient Philosophy
    • Medieval Philosophy
    • Modern Philosophy
    • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Languages
    • Reading competence in Latin; overall competence in Dutch, French and German
  • Fellowships and Grants
    • Folger Shakespeare Library, Washing DC. 3 month residential fellowship, June-August 2008.
    • Scaliger Institute 2 month residential fellowship, University of Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands, June 15-August 15, 2007.
    • Herzog August Bibliothek 3 month residential fellowship in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, May-August, 2005.
    • Smithsonian Institute Libraries/Dibner Library Resident Scholarship Award, Jan-May 2004.
    • NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Grant for Summer Institute “Experience and Experiment in Early Modern Europe,? directed by Professors Pamela Long and Pamela Smith. Folger Library, Washington DC, June 24-Aug 2 2001.
    • NEH Grant for Summer Seminar “Descartes and His Contemporaries: Scholastics and Novatores,? directed by Professors Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber at Virginia Tech, June 17-July 14, 2000.
    • DAAD (German Academic Exchange Program) Research Grant, Institut für Geistesgeschichte und Philosophie der Renaissance, Universität München, May-Aug 1995.
    • Foundation for Intellectual History Grant to attend Conference: "Conversations with Aristotle" in Cambridge UK, 10-13 April 1995.
    • Herzog August Bibliothek Grant to participate in seminar on Renaissance Aristotelian Commentaries, directed by Professor Eckhard Kessler, Wolfenbüttel Germany, 1-27 Aug 1994
    • Non Teaching Fellowship (merit based), Penn Spring 1995, Fall 1993
  • Research
    • Books
      • Descartes on Forms and Mechanisms. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009
    • Articles
      • “Between Scholasticism and Newtonianism: Descartes on the Metaphysics of Time." In Naturwissenschaften und Zeitbegriffe, ed Frank Linhard and Peter Eisenhardt, Zeitspruenge, Forschungen zuer Fruehen Neuzeit, Vol.1/2, April 2007.
      • “Concurrence or Divergence? Reconciling Descartes’ Physics With His Metaphysics." Journal of the History of Philosophy, 45.1 (Jan 2007): pp. 49-78.
      • “From Mechanics to Mechanism: The Quaestiones Mechanicae and Descartes’ Physics." In The Science of Nature in the Seventeenth Century, eds. Peter R.Anstey and John A. Schuster, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science, Vol.19 (Dordrecht: Springer, 2005), pp.99-129.
      • “Le fondement de la causalité dans les traditions aristotéliciennes et mécanistes." In Studi Cartesiani II, Atti del Seminario “Descartes et ses adversaires" (Lecce: Conte, 2004).
      • “Conflicting Causalities: the Jesuits, their Opponents and Descartes on the Causality of the Efficient Cause." Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy vol.1 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
      • “Handmaiden, Nursemaid or Sister to Philosophy? The Role of the History of Philosophy Today." Invited chapter in The Philosophy of Marjorie Grene (La Salle Illinois: Open Court 2002) pp.515-532.
      • "The Problem of Secondary Causation in Descartes: A Response to Des Chene." Perspectives on Science 8:2, p.93-118.
      • “Laws of Nature." Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution From Copernicus to Newton, ed. Wilbur Applebaum (New York: Garland, 2000) pp.354-357.
      • "One Cause or Many?: Jesuit Influences on Descartes' Division of Causes." In Meeting of the Minds: The Relations Between Medieval and Classical Modern European Philosophy. ed Stephen F. Brown (Brepols, 1998), p.105-120.
    • Reviews
      • Marleen Rozemond’s Descartes’ Dualism in Philosophical Books 41:2, April 2000, p.106-8.
      • Thomas Vinci’s Cartesian Truth in Philosophical Review Vol.109 :4 Oct 2000, p.642-645.
      • Jorge Secada’s Cartesian Metaphysics in Philosophical Books 43:3, July 2002, p.229-231.
    • Presentations
      • Invited paper on "Monist Philosophy in Leiden Before Spinoza: The Case of David Gorlaeus." International Spinoza Workshop, University of Leiden, The Netherlands, 21 July 2009.
      • "What Was God Doing Before He Created the World: Descartes' Surprising Answer." Invited Colloquium at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX, 3 April 2009.
      • Invited commentary on "The Character of the Efficient Cause in Suarez" by Dennis Des Chene. International Workshop on "Francisco Suarez S.J. Last Medieval or First Early Modern?" University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, 12-14 September 2008.
      • "Mechanical Demonstrations and Modern Scientific Method." Invited paper for Symposium on "Mechanics and its Philosophical Implications in the Aristotelian Tradition," International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science, Vancouver, Canada, 20 June 2008.
      • "Scholastic Interpretations of the Mechanical Problems and the Question of Method." Invited paper for panel on "The Problematical History of Aristotle's Mechanical Problesm," annual meeting of History of Science Socity, Arlington, VA, 2 Nov. 2007.
      • “The Sources of Descartes’ Eternal Truths." Joint meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi su Descartes e il Seicento (Università di Lecce) and Centre d’Etudes Cartésiennes (Université de Paris IV), Princeton University, April 1, 2007.
      • Invited Commentary on “Eternal Truths as Common Notions" by Shoshana Smith, APA Eastern Division meeting, Dec 29, 2006.
      • “Divine Concurrence in Descartes and his Contemporaries." Invited Colloquium at University of St Thomas, Houston, Nov 10, 2006.
      • “What Was God Doing Before He Created the World? Descartes’ Surprising Answer," Invited Paper at the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenb?ttel, Germany, July 24, 2006.
      • “Continuity or Discontinuity: Descartes’ Views on Time." International Conference on “The Scientific Terminology of Space and Time in the Academic Disciplines of the 17th and 18th Centuries?, Frankfurt Am Main, Sept 27-28, 2005.
      • “Slings, Pebbles and Eddies: The ‘Humble’ Origins of Descartes’ Celestial Mechanics", presenter and session organizer for “What’s in a Name? Bringing the Estranged Members of the Mechanics Family Together Again," Annual Meeting of History of Science Society, Cambridge, MA, Oct 20-23, 2003.
      • "Concurrence or Divergence? A Closer Look at Cartesian and Scholastic Causes." Inaugural Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, May 2003.
      • “From Mechanics to Mechanism: The Quaestiones Mechanicae and Descartes’ Physics." The Origins of Modernity, International conference at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, July 7-12, 2002.
      • “The Aristotelian Tradition in Mechanics and Descartes’ Mechanistic View of Causation: Possible Connections and Divergences." Patristic, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Annual Meeting, Villanova, Sept 29, 2001.
      • “Le fondement de la causalité dans les traditions aristotéliciennes et mécanistes." Conference on “Descartes et ses adversaires," organized jointly by the Centre d’Etudes Cartésiennes, University of Chicago and University of Lecce, Sorbonne, Paris, Dec 2000.
      • “Competing Aristotelianisms and Their Connection to Descartes’ Causes of Motion." Patristic, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Annual Meeting, Villanova, Sept. 23, 2000.
      • “God and Nature in the Seventeenth Century: The Problem of Divine and Natural Causation in Basso and Descartes." The Midwest Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy and Southeastern Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, Joint Meeting, University of Chicago, March 25, 2000
      • Invited Panelist for “Building Bridges? Conference, Presentation: The Relationship Between Religion and Science in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods." Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Oct. 1999.
      • Commentary on Des Chene’s Physiologia, Author Meets Critics Session, Annual Meeting Division of the Central the APA, New Orleans, May 1999.
      • “From Teleology to Mechanism: The Jesuits, Basso and Descartes on Natural Causation." Annual Meeting of the History of Science Society, Kansas City MO, Oct. 23rd 1998.
      • “The Challenges of Doing the History of Philosophy: A Case Study in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy, Science and Theology." Philosophy and Humanities Colloquium, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA, Oct.13th, 1998.
      • Commentary on Edward Slowik’s "Cartesian Bodies and the Plenum." Session on "Swerves and Vortices," Eastern Division APA, Atlanta GA, Dec.1996.
      • "Jesuit Influences on Descartes' Division of Causes." Annual Meeting of the Société Internationale d'Etudes Philosophiques Médiévales, Boston MA July 1996.
      • "One Cause Or Many?: What Jesuit Philosophy Can Tell Us About Descartes." History of Philosophy of Science Conference, Roanoke VA, April 1996.
      • "The Theory of Causality in Descartes and its Scholastic Background." Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel Germany, Sept. 1995.
      • "Descartes' Conception of Efficient Causes in Nature." Annual Meeting of the New Jersey Regional Philosophy Association, New Brunswick NJ, Nov. 1994.