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CODE 104269
ACADEMIC YEAR 2023/2024
CREDITS
SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR M-STO/05
LANGUAGE Italian
TEACHING LOCATION
  • GENOVA
SEMESTER 2° Semester
TEACHING MATERIALS AULAWEB

OVERVIEW

The history of scientific thought investigates the emergence and the evolution of scientific ideas in their historical, philosophical and social context. This module focuses on the early modern period, namely, on the period of the ‘Scientific Revolution’, and on the rise of the constitutive traits of modern science, such as its independence from philosophy and religion, the process of mathematization of the scientific disciplines, experimental practices and their reproducibility and circulation, the visual representation of scientific results, the use of instruments. 

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

The aims are 

To outline the historical development of the different sciences to analyze, then, the theoretical and methodological structure of the same.

To acquire a solid knowledge of the history of scientific-philosophical thought from antiquity to the present day in order to offer extensive information on today's debate in the various areas of scientific research.

To promote an appropriate approach to the use of bibliographic tools, texts, and the different argumentative and epistemological methods of the different sciences.


 

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of the module, students will have gained:

- specialist knowledge on the early modern history of science

- analytical skills with respect to the main scientific texts of the Scientific Revolution

- a study methodology to understand the main problems of early modern science

- the ability to use appropriate specialist terminology.

- the ability to think critically and autonomously on the history of science.

- the ability to start, develop and communicate a research project / essay

PREREQUISITES

None

TEACHING METHODS

Lectures will be organized thematically and complemented by readings from historical sources and by the discussion of secondary bibliography in Italian and in other languages. Secondary bibliography will be uploaded on Teams.

Attendance is strongly recommended. Attending students have the option to replace the oral exam with a research project/paper. The procedures will be discussed in class during the first week of the course.

Classes take place in person, utilizing a Teams channel for the circulation of bibliography and PowerPoint slides. Online mode is only available upon request for working students.

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

This module deals with the origins of the Scientific Revolution in the fields of astronomy and cosmology. The first book of Copernicus’ De revolutionibus will illustrate the issues linked to heliocentrism, its motivations and its scientific and philosophical sources. The course will then study the ‘cosmological question’ between the end of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth century. To this end, the central part of the module will be dedicated to the study of the works by Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), and the way in which these develop the consequences of heliocentrism both in the field of natural philosophy, and in the relations between philosophy, science and religion. The analysis of the Cena de le ceneri (Ash Wednesday Supper) will be complemented by readings from Bruno’s other works, including the metaphysical dialogues De la causa, principio et uno and De l’infinito, universo e mondi. The last part of the course will consider the evolution of the cosmological debate in the first decades of the seventeenth century through readings from the works of Kepler and Galilei.

Selected topics from the module will include:

- Humanism and moder science

- Cosmology and metaphysics

- Heliocentrism and the infinite extension of the universe

- Tosmological models and their visual representation

- The origins of cosmology as a philosophical discipline

- Astronomical discoveries and natural philosophy

- Mathematics and natural philosophy

 

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

Required readings for students attending the course

Texts:

Niccolò Copernico, De revolutionibus, Book I. A recent Italian translation is in Niccolò Copernico, La struttura del cosmo, introduzione di M. Blay, commento di J. Seidengart, traduzione di R Giroldini, Firenze Olschki, 2009. English translations are also available.  

Giordano Bruno, La cena de le ceneri. Recommended Italian edition: Giordano Bruno, Opere italiane, a cura di N. Ordine, Torino, UTET 2002 (also available as ebook). A recent English translation with commentary is Giordano Bruno, The Ash Wednesday Supper, edited and translated by H. Gatti, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2018.

Studies:

Required readings:

Th. Kuhn, La rivoluzione copernicana. L’astronomia planetaria nello sviluppo del pensiero occidentale, Torino, Einaudi (original edition in English: The Copernican Revolution. Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought)

Further bibliography will be available through Aulaweb.

 

Student NOT attending the course

In addition to the above bibliography, students will study one of the following books (all three of them are also available in English translation):

- H. Gatti, Giordano Bruno e la scienza del Rinascimento, Milano, R. Cortina (orginal edition in English: Giordano Bruno and Renaissance Science).

- R. Westman, The Copernican Question. Prognostication, Skepticism and Celestial Order, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2011. Capitoli 1-5 (pp. 25-169), 8-10 (pp. 223-306)

- M. Bucciantini, M. Camerota, F. Giudice, Il telescopio di Galileo. Una storia europea, Torino, Einaudi (English translation Galileo’s Telescope. A European Story, Cambridge, Harvard UP).

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

Exam Board

DARIO TESSICINI (President)

DAVIDE ARECCO

LESSONS

LESSONS START

Classes start on 20 February 2024 and will take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 1pm-3pm (to be confirmed)

EXAMS

EXAM DESCRIPTION

Attending students: You have the option to choose between an oral exam or a research project/thesis of approximately 20 pages (around 5000 words), to be agreed upon with the instructor within one month from the expected submission date. In both cases, the evaluation will consider the critical understanding of the topics addressed, the ability to analyze texts, and proficiency in philosophical and scientific language.

It is possible to take the exam in English. Students who wish to avail themselves of this option are advised to contact the instructor to agree on the English bibliography.

Non-attending students: Oral exam.

 

Pre-registration for the exam is mandatory and must be done at least one week before the chosen session

 

ASSESSMENT METHODS

Students will be assessed on:

1) their knowledge of the texts and of their historical and philosophical context

2) their ability to analyse critically the topics and the texts studied during the course

3) the coherence of their arguments, and the appropriateness of the philosophical and scientific terminology.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
19/12/2023 12:00 GENOVA Orale
16/01/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale
07/02/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale
08/05/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale
05/06/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale
19/06/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale
03/07/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale
11/09/2024 12:00 GENOVA Orale

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Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
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