Prof. Dr. Henrique Fortuna Cairus

CV Lattes


Instituição: Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, PUC-Rio
Período: março 2016 – março 2017
Título do projeto: O conceito de phýsis/natura no discurso médico da Antiguidade e sua ressonância no imaginário sobre o Brasil


Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Classical Letters, 1999. Thesis: The limits of the sacred in Hippocrates’ nosology.


Legitimação e solidificação de discursos; Linguagem e discursos na história da filisofia ocidental; Genealogia de conceitos na antiguidade.

Ongoing research project

Discursive legitimations in the western history of the concept of Nature (2015):

This research consists in the investigation of the history of the concept of “nature” in Ancient History, and of how the manipulation of such a concept allowed for the legitimation of many discourses, and, in particular, the ethnocentrism found in Hegel and Taine and in other 18th and 19th century researchers. Other goals and legitimation mechanisms linked to the interpretations of this concept are analyzed, for instance, in the elaboration of scientistic theories in the 19th century. Our analytical path may be thus described: analysis of the use of the words phýsis and natura in Greek and Latin texts, taking into account the idea of ‘spontaneity’ linked to the engendering of such concepts. The semantic diversity of concepts subsumed under the notions of phýsis and natura becomes prolific by highlighting, besides the ancestral idea of spontaneity, the belief in a perfection that is sometimes to be found through elements of pagan culture (such as Pythagorean rites and ceremonies) and, sometimes, through the Judaic-Christian creationist culture and its Edenic view of nature. Regardless, the notion of a phýsis and of a natura which are not only inherently sovereign, but which govern – or might govern – the world of culture, despite seeming to be governed by it, is constantly present. This line of reasoning seems, finally, to be connected to still-prevailing ethnocentric ideas, which are discursively legitimated in readings and interpretations of founding texts handed down to us by Ancient History. The research aims to map and understand this legitimation mechanism.

This project is linked to PROAERA.