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Center for Renaissance and Early Modern Thought

Events

Seminar "Prismi della Modernità. Itinerari di Storia della Filosofia dal XIV al XVIII secolo"

The seminar "Prismi della Modernità. Itinerari di Storia della Filosofia dal XIV al XVIII secolo" was born at the end of 2017 thanks to Emanuela Scribano and has been organized every year by Francesco Binotto, Maria Vittoria Comacchi, and Luigi Emilio Pischedda. "Prismi della Modernità" aims to foster research, discussions, and readings in the field of late Medieval, Renaissance and early modern philosophy and to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted nature of philosophy from the late medieval to the early modern period. "Prismi della Modernità" benefits from the expertise of both established and early-career guests, and of Ca’ Foscari University members and unite scholars from different research backgrounds and disciplines through an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach. The central purpose of "Prismi della modernità" is to encourage the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and experiences between professors, researchers, students, and interested audiences. The seminar, structured in research and methodological meetings, also hosts book presentations, conferences, and workshops. 

When: november 2019 - june 2020

Previous editions


About

Mission

The Center for Renaissance and Early Modern Thought aims to foster research and academic cooperation intended to investigate the shaping of Renaissance and early modern thought in all its facets.

The Center promotes research able to uncover the multifaceted nature of Renaissance and early modern philosophical debates, their interconnections with other areas of the history of philosophy, ideas, political thought and science, and how their legacy might still affect today’s philosophical debates.

One of the Center’s mission is to build bridges between the humanities and sciences by promoting interdisciplinary research into the historical, philosophical, and social factors that govern the theory and practice of science.

The Center functions as a hub for junior and senior researchers interested in the history of Renaissance and early modern thought. It organizes workshops, conferences and talks on the topic. Through publications and other public dissemination it aims to deepen understanding of the philosophy of history and historiography.

"Portrait of Thomas Hobbes", after John Michael Wright oil on canvas, based on a work of circa 1669-1670, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK

Core assets

History of philosophy: The Center aims to research one of the most innovative moments in Western philosophy, during which new philosophical theory were proposed, i.e. the period approximately spanned from the late 1400s to the end of the 18th century. The Center aims to investigate the relationship between the Renaissance philosophy and the main characters of modern philosophy, and to promote researches on less known but influential philosophers of this period.

History of science, medicine and technology: The Center aims to investigate the structure and history of the immensely rich discipline of natural philosophy in the Renaissance and early modern thought, describe its evolution in time, and capture the consequences of its eventual fragmentation into the modern scientific disciplines.

History of political thought: The Center aims to consider how new scholarship and interdisciplinary approaches have shaped our understanding and assessment of the history of political thought and the broader field of Renaissance and early modern intellectual history.

Classical tradition: The Center examines how cultures Renaissance and early modern thought have received Greek and Roman antiquity. It focuses on the creative use of the ancient Greco-Roman heritage in a broad range of scholarly endeavors. It explores the significance of classical influences on the shaping of modern mind connecting a wide range of interests in classics and ancient history and literary studies.

History of ideas/Intellectual history : The Center aims to foster research and teaching in intellectual history uniting researchers from the fields of art history, literary history, history of technology, history of philosophy, social history, and economic history as well as researchers in science studies in order to examine how knowledge has been displayed and systematized over the course of history and the role played by individual actors and values in this process.

History of academic institutions and universities: The Center focuses on study of every aspect of university, and more in general of academic environment, history development, structure, teaching, and research from the Middle Ages to the modern period.

Host institution

The Center is embedded in the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage .

The University and Venetian libraries and affiliates have superb collections for research in history of Renaissance and Early Modern thought. Holdings include a magnificent collection of incunabula and early printed works; one of Italy’s fullest and most varied collections of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century books and periodicals.

"Portrait of Baruch de Spinoza", author unknown, ca. 1665, oil on canvas, Gemäldesammlung der Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Germany

Team

Director

Mariangela Priarolo
Mariangela Priarolo’s work focuses on the role that metaphysics has in relation to other domains of knowledge, such as theology, epistemology, natural sciences, and politics in early modern philosophy, especially in Nicolas Malebranche and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Her recent and current research concerns Malebranche’s definition of reason and its connections with the affective dimension of human nature in understanding the moral life, the ‘biological’ theories of preformation in Malebranche and Pierre-Sylvain Régis and the place they have within mechanical conceptions of life, the extent and limits of Leibniz’s conception of toleration, and the debate on superstition and science which took place in France at the end of the seventeenth-century. She is also interested in the representation of the main features of modernity in post-human studies.

 

Vice-director

Marco Sgarbi
Marco Sgarbi is working on the first comprehensive analysis of works written on Aristotle in Italian between c. 1400 and c. 1650. During this period, around 250 works, including translations, commentaries, compendia, dialogues, poems, and other compositions, attempted to broaden people’s familiarity with the most systematic philosopher of antiquity. Although the movement to translate Aristotle into Italian was hugely significant and foreshadowed many of the features of early modern philosophy, it has barely been studied. His project, which brings together the strengths of research teams in Venice and Warwick, will thus offer the first in-depth exploration of this phenomenon. By taking into consideration the whole range of writings on Aristotle it will provide a more nuanced understanding of how philosophy was understood and practiced outside of the elite, Latin circles of universities and religious orders.

Ca' Foscari Members

Matteo Favaretti Camposampiero
Matteo works on the origins of the idea that thought depends (in various ways and to various extents) on language, on the intersections between views on human language faculty and the mind-body problem and on the early formulations of semantic compositionality. He studies early modern ontology, in particular mereology. Finally he investigates the early modern conceptions of life and death especially in the Leibnizian, post-Leibnizian, and anti-Leibnizian doctrines of immortality.

Craig Martin
Craig Martin is working of two major book projects; the first is a monograph on the theories of wind during the early modern period. Wind powered early modern European exploration and expansion. During that period, knowledge of the wind transformed. As early as the first voyages to the New World, travelers sought to characterize and map recently discovered winds, integrating their observations with knowledge derived from natural philosophy, history, geography, mathematics, cosmography, the art of navigation, and medicine. His project will give an account of one of the earliest emergences of natural knowledge on a global scale.

Pietro Daniel Omodeo
Pietro Daniel works on the competing confessional discourses on cosmology of the seventeenth century, an epoch in which religious conflicts originated opposing ‘epistemic cultures’, which were embodied in scholarly institutions and networks such as the Protestant web of northern European universities or the global web of Jesuit colleges. His addresses the interrelations between 1) cosmological debates in the northern European Protestant institutional networks of scholars and institutions and 2) cosmological debates in Jesuit institutional networks aiming at 3) a comparative assessment of early formations and transformations of epistemic webs. He considers parallelisms and contrasts, negotiations and intersections of seventeenth-century cosmological discourses between scholars, institutions and scientific communities belonging to different epistemic cultures.

"Portrait of Galileo Galilei", author Justus Sustermans, ca. 1640, oil on canvas, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK

Scientific board


Research

Philosophical Reviews in Early Modern Italy (1686-1797)

The project PREMI aims to explore and catalogue from the perspective of the history of knowledge all philosophical reviews published in Italian journals between 1668, the foundation date of "Giornale de’ letterati d’Italia", to 1797, the date of the Treaty of Campo Formio with the subsequent dominance of the French culture. The database is based on the census of more than 200 different journals and more than 10.000 issues. Albeit the high number of studies and research projects on the academic and scientific journals, scarce, if not any, attention has been given to the role of reviews in shaping the Republic of Letters and in determining the cultural milieu and the circulation of knowledge across countries.

The database is under completion.

"Portrait of John Locke", author Godfrey Kneller, 1697, oil on canvas, Ermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia