Scientific Report 2015

Scientific report 2015

From natural history to science: the emergence of experimental philosophy

(PN-II-ID-2011-3-0719)

Director of project: Dana Jalobeanu

 

Synopsis

We had two main objectives for 2015. One was to extend our analysis of the role of experiment in early modern natural & experimental history to new fields, such as cosmography, philosophical cosmology and the tradition of mixed mathematics.  The other was to bring to fruition earlier investigative efforts through publication in high profile journals and with good international presses.

In order to fulfill our first objective we extended some of our research in such a way to include works of cosmology and its various seventeenth century branches and related disciplines (cosmography, optics, astronomy, astrology, the “science” of instruments etc.). We have investigated various grey areas at the intersection between research oriented natural (and experimental) histories and the wide field of cosmological speculations at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century. Our research covered new and relatively under-investigated figures (such as William Gilbert, Robert Recorde, Thomas Digges, Mark Ridley and Kenelm Digby) and new problems (such as the inter-relation between theory and experiment in the natural history of the heavens, magnetic cosmology, the concept of the ‘orb of virtue’, and early modern conceptions of ‘space’ before the Scientific Revolution). The first results of our attempt to extend the investigation in the field of cosmology are already showing themselves. We have submitted to publication the first volume in a series of Philosophical cosmology: annotated, critical translations of important sixteenth and seventeenth century texts (see the detailed description below). We have also two papers accepted for publication and two more papers submitted, plus a number of talks, panel sessions and proposed special issues (to be completed in 2016).

Our second objective was also fulfilled. 2015 was a year which brought to fruition some of our earlier investigative efforts: all in all, our team has produced in 2015 3 books and 10 articles which were either published or accepted for publication. Of these publications, one monograph by Dana Jalobeanu was published by Zeta Books; Mihnea Dobre’s book was accepted for publication and will appear in 2016; and the collective volume one of our anthology of Philosophical Cosmology (Cosmology in the Renaissance) was accepted for publication and will appear in 2016 at University of Bucharest Press. In terms of articles, 1 ISI article by Oana Matei has already appeared in 2015, and a chapter in a volume was published by Doina Cristina Rusu. 8 more articles were accepted for publication. Of these, two are in ISI journals, one in a BDI journal and the other five are chapters in collected volumes, all published with international presses. Other articles and editorial projects were submitted in 2015 and are currently under review.

In addition, our team has also published essay reviews and book reviews in international journals (see below), introduced three new courses in the curriculum (at the University of Bucharest) and organized the yearly edition of Bucharest colloquium in early modern science.

 

Extended report

In the initial calendar of our research project, 2015 was the final year, which should have concluded the activities and the list of publications envisaged in the contract. However, we were requested to change the planned activities and to expand our goals to meet the new requirements (the budged cuts for 2015 and the extension of the project until 2016). As we complied with the request, we saw the opportunities to explore additional research areas, such that without dismissing any of the initial objectives, we added some new intermediary goals. The challenge we took was to explore early modern cosmologies and to discuss them in relation to the prior research on the role of experiment and natural histories in the formation of the early modern science. We set ourselves two objectives. One was to translate, comment and edit an anthology of philosophical cosmology in the Renaissance. The second was to investigate the inter-relations between research oriented natural (and experimental) history and the philosophical cosmologies of the early seventeenth century. In parallel, we have also continued our ongoing translation project (the translation into Romanian of Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum).

 

Editorial and translation project: Philosophical cosmology in the Renaissance

Co-edited by Dana Jalobeanu and Doina-Cristina Rusu, the volume was completed and submitted for publication at the University of Bucharest publishing house and will appear in print in February 2016. This volume involved the work of the entire team, and it amounts, in its final form, to over 500 pages. It has 11 chapters and an extended introductory study (by Dana Jalobeanu). Each chapter contains an annotated translation, an introduction, further reading and bibliography. Chapters include work by Jose de Acosta, Robert Recorde, William Gilbert, Mark Ridley, Galileo Galilei, John Wilkins, Kenelm Digby and Rene Descartes. This volume combines original work (in the introductory study to each chapter) with high quality translations from original languages (including Latin, French, and English).

This editorial project was preempted by the involvement of our team members in teaching classes on philosophical cosmologies. Our teaching work allowed us to discuss important aspects of the project and, thus, to communicate some of the preliminary conclusions of the current research project to a larger audience. The outcome was twofold: on the one hand, we got the chance to spend more time exploring some of the most intricate questions regarding the relation between philosophical cosmology, natural histories, observations, and the role of experiment in the early modern period; on the other hand, we managed to attract younger scholars (students graduating M.A. programs or recently enrolled in PhD programs) to do research. By working together with them, we showed what it means to do research in the early modern studies and we encouraged them to explore their own hypotheses in the history of philosophy and science. At the same time, we benefitted from this collaborative work, as our translation project grew from the focus on texts by Francis Bacon and René Descartes, to several other early modern authors (such as Acosta, Digby, Galilei, Plattes, Recorde, Ridley, Wilkins). With the publication of these translations, we aim to initiate a series of publications on philosophical cosmology themes, as Dana Jalobeanu and Mihnea Dobre are preparing a monograph in the same series.

 

Translation project: the first Romanian translation of Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum

We have continued working to our translation project, translating and annotating Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum. We have also organized and co-organized workshops and discussions on Bacon’s Sylva, such as the three days workshop organized at the Technical University, Berlin (where half of our group was present, giving papers on various aspects of our translation and research project), or the one day workshop in the Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy where some members of our team also gave papers and contribute to discussions.

 

Scientific work and main results for 2015

In parallel with our translation project, we have continued and expanded our investigations of the role of experiment in the early modern natural philosophy.  Dana Jalobeanu developed her earlier investigations into research oriented natural history in such a way to cover new research questions, such as the collaborative aspects of Baconian investigation. Her paper on the collaborative aspects of Baconian investigation was accepted and presented at the Renaissance Society of America 2015, Berlin (26-28 March 2015). Meanwhile, her paper submitted last year on “Disciplining experience: Francis Bacon’s experimental series and the art of experimentation” will appear in Perspectives on Science 24 (3), 2016. Other papers by Jalobeanu accepted for publication are listed below. In parallel, Jalobeanu worked on a new research topic, at the intersection between natural and experimental history and philosophical cosmology, i.e., the development, in seventeenth-century natural philosophy, of an operational concept of space from the natural philosophical (and cosmological) concept of the “orbs of virtue” (a central concept in the magnetic philosophy of Giovani Battista della Porta, William Gilbert, Mark Ridley, as well as in the ‘cosmological’ writings of Kepler and Galileo). Her paper on Bacon, Gilbert and Kepler on the orbs of virtue was accepted for publication in a volume published by Springer (edited by Koen Vermeir and Jonathan Regier). Starting from this research topic, Jalobeanu has inquired more generally into the relation between force-related concepts and space-related concepts in the works of Francis Bacon, William Gilbert, Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei. Her first results were communicated in a talk given at the Princeton Bucharest seminar in early modern philosophy (July 2015).

Doina Cristina Rusu has developed a number of research-questions and has managed to submit for publication quite a number of papers (of which three were already accepted for publication). She has further developed her comparative investigations into Giovani Battista Della Porta’s natural magic and Francis Bacon’s experimental science, and her article  “Rethinking Sylva Sylvarum: Francis Bacon’s Use of Giambattista Della Porta’s Magia Naturalis,”  was accepted by Perspectives on Science and will be published in 2016. Rusu has also another article accepted for publication,  “Extracts from a Paper Laboratory. The Status of Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum,Intellectual History Review 2016 (co-written with Christoph Lüthy); and she has been invited to contribute a paper entitled “Manipulating matter and its appetites: Francis Bacon on causation and the creation of preternatural,” in Contingency and Natural order in Early Modern Science, eds. Pietro Daniel Omodeo and Rodolfo Garau (Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, Springer, 2016).

Mihnea Dobre has continued his investigations into the concept of space in Cartesian thought. His paper “Experimental Cartesianism and the Problem of Space” was accepted in the volume Spaces, Knots and Bonds: At the crossroads between early modern “magic” and “science.” eds. Koen Vermeir and Jonathan Regier (Dordrecht: Springer, forthcoming 2016). Due to his teaching of classes on cosmology, Dobre developed some fresh questions regarding the role of Christian cosmogony in the birth of modern science. He explored these questions—such as the role of Cartesian matter theory in the early modern discussions regarding the mosaic history of Creation—in a reading group he co-organized with Daniel Garber (Princeton University) in the Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Science. Other research questions were devoted to the role of experiment in some less-obvious contexts, such as the reception of Cartesian physics in the Newtonian England (his contributed paper to the “Newton’s Philosophical Projects” masterclass).

One of the articles accepted for publication in 2014 by Oana Matei has been published this year, “Husbandry Tradition and the Emergence of Vegetable Philosophy inside the Hartlib Circle,” Philosphia. International Journal of Philosophy 16 (1), 2015. Besides her translations for the cosmology anthology, Matei continued to explore research questions connected to the spread of Baconianism in the early Royal Society.

In addition to publications, our team has also had a certain amount of international recognition. Dana Jalobeanu got an invitation to join Max Planck Institute for History of Science as a visiting fellow (June-July 2015). Our research assistant, Claudia Dumitru, has been accepted in a very prestigious MA program in history and philosophy of science at the University of Cambridge (2015-2016).  Also, Sebastian Mateiescu has obtained an extension of the Scientific Exchange Program-NMS-CH fellowship at the University of Lausanne, by Sebastian Mateiescu (http://www.swissuniversities.ch/de/themen/sciex/). It is worth mention that Dumitru’s and Mateiescu’s achievments forced us to change the structure of the research team, such that they help us further in the translation project, but they will not be active members in the project anymore.

 

Dissemination of scientific results.

In terms of disseminating of the results, the principal investigator, Dana Jalobeanu, published her monograph on Bacon’s natural and experimental history. The book, entitled The Art of Experimental Natural History: Francis Bacon in Context, Zeta Books: București (2015) has been long in the making and reflects work and research done in the past seven years throughout three research projects (of which two PCEs). Mihnea Dobre also completed and successfully submitted a monograph on Metaphysics and Physics in Descartes and Early French Cartesian Natural Philosophy, ZetaBooks: București (forthcoming 2016). While both of these books dwell upon some prior research done by Jalobeanu and Dobre, the current project contributed significantly towards their completion.

In parallel with these achievements, the team continued to follow our main goal, i.e., international collaboration and publication in important journals and visible volumes published by important international presses. Dana Jalobeanu and Doina Cristina Rusu have had papers accepted by Perspectives on Science, Doina Cristina Rusu has a paper (co-authored with Christoph Lüthy) accepted by Intellectual History Review, and the members of the team have papers accepted in volumes published by Springer, or in the prestigious series such as Intersections, Boston Studies in Philosophy and History of Science and Minesotta Studies in Philosophy of Science. In addition, Dana Jalobeanu and Doina Cristina Rusu have entered the competition for the realization of a special issue of Centaurus (2017). Their proposal was successful so they will be the editor of a special issue of Centaurus (ISI journal) on Bacon and Della Porta on experimental investigations.

Our team was also present to some of the important conferences and workshops in the field. In addition to co-organizing and taking part on the second international workshop on Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum (organized at the Technical University Berlin), Dana Jalobeanu and Doina Cristina Rusu were presenting papers at the Renaissance Society of America 2015, 26-28 March 2015. The team was also present at the Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy 2015, with papers and a reading group. Dana Jalobeanu and Mihnea Dobre co-organized and presented papers in the Institute for Research in the Humanities of the University of Bucharest’s masterclass on Isaac Newton’s Philosophical Projects (6-10 October 2015). Doina Cristina Rusu also presented a paper at the British Society for the History of Philosophy conference, University of York (9-11.04.2015) and was invited to take part in the second workshop on contingency organized at the Max Plank Institute, Berlin (12.05.2015).

 

List of publications

Dobre, Mihnea. Experimental Cartesianism and the Problem of Space. In Spaces, Knots and Bonds: At the crossroads between early modern “magic” and “science.” eds. Koen Vermeir and Jonathan Regier (Dordrecht: Springer, forthcoming 2016).

Dobre, Mihnea. Metaphysics and Physics in Descartes and Early French Cartesian Natural Philosophy. ZetaBooks, forthcoming 2016.

Dobre, Mihnea. Book review of Traité de physique de Jacques Rohault. Revue Artefact. Techniques, histoire et sciences humaines (CNRS Editions), forthcoming 2015 (no. 3).

Jalobeanu, Dana. The Art of Experimental Natural History: Francis Bacon in Context, Zeta Books: București (2015), ISBN: 978-606-8266-92-3 (ebook), ISBN: 978-606-8266-93-0 (paperback).

Jalobeanu, Dana. Disciplining experience: Francis Bacon’s experimental series and the art of experimentation, Perspectives on Science 24 (3), 2016.

Jalobeanu, Dana. The toolbox of early modern natural historian, Journal of Early Modern Studies 4:107-123, 2015.

Jalobeanu, Dana. The Magnificent Principia (review of Colin Pask, The Magnificent Principia); Physics Today, 68 (1): 45 (2015); doi: 10.1063/PT.3.2659.

Jalobeanu, Dana. Robert Boyle’s experimental philosophy revisited, (“Robert Boyle”, ed. Michael Hunter and Elizabeth Boran, Intellectual History Review, Volume 25, Issue 1 (2015), ISSN: 1749-6977 (print), 1749-6985 (online), 131 pp. , Societate si Politica 17 (9): 100-104; http://socpol.uvvg.ro/docs/2015-1/9.pdf.

Jalobeanu, Dana. Borders, ‘leaps’ and ‘orbs of virtue:’ A contextual reconstruction of Francis Bacon’s extension-related concepts. In Spaces, Knots and Bonds: At the crossroads between early modern “magic” and “science.” eds. Koen Vermeir and Jonathan Regier (Dordrecht: Springer, forthcoming 2016).

Jalobeanu, Dana. Rewriting Francis Bacon’s Natural History: Pierre Amboise’s translation of Sylva Sylvarum, special issue of Intersections: Interdisciplinary Studies in Early Modern Culture, edited by Raphaele Fruet (et. all), Brill 2016.

Jalobeanu, Dana. The marriage of physics with mathematics: Francis Bacon on measurement, mathematics and the construction of a mathematical physics. In G. Gordon, B. Hill, E. Slowik and K. Waters , eds., Language of nature, Minnesota Studies in Philosophy of Science, 2016.

Jalobeanu, Dana and Doina Cristina Rusu (ed), Cosmologie filosofica-texte fundamentale. Vol. I Renașterea și modernitatea timpurie, Editura Universitatii din Bucuresti (2016 forthcoming).

Matei, Oana. Husbandry Tradition and the Emergence of Vegetable Philosophy inside the Hartlib Circle. Philosphia. International Journal of Philosophy 16 (1): 35-52 (2015), ISSN: 2244-1875 (Print); ISSN 2244-1883 (Online).

Rusu, Doina-Cristina. Critica autorității și folosirea surselor: Francis Bacon despre compilarea istoriilor naturale. In Etica cercetarii si drepturile de autor, ed. Constantin Stoenescu, Editura Universitatii din Bucuresti, 2014, pp. 47-84.

Rusu, Doina-Cristina. Rethinking Sylva Sylvarum: Francis Bacon’s Use of Giambattista Della Porta’s Magia Naturalis, Perspectives on Science forthcoming 2016.

Rusu, Doina-Cristina. Manipulating matter and its appetites: Francis Bacon on causation and the creation of preternatural. In Contingency and Natural order in Early Modern Science, eds. Pietro Daniel Omodeo and Rodolfo Garau, Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, Springer, forthcoming 2016.

Rusu, Doina-Cristina. Book review “Élodie Cassan (ed.), Bacon et Descartes. Genèses de la modernité philosophique” Journal of Early Modern Studies 4 (1): 132-135.

Rusu, Doina-Cristina. Book review “Dana Jalobeanu and Cesare Pastorino (eds), Instruments and Arts of Inquiry: Natural History, Natural Magic and the Production of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe.Society and Politics 9 (1): 103-105.

Rusu, Doina-Cristina. Book review “Efthymios Nicolaidis, Science and Eastern Orthodoxy. From the Greek Fathers to the Age of Globalization.” Early Science and Medicine 20 (1):98-100.

Rusu, Doina-Cristina and Lüthy, Christoph. Extracts from a Paper Laboratory. The Status of Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum, Intellectual History Review forthcoming 2016.

 

Extended list of talks and conferences

Dobre, Mihnea. Paper on Baconianism, Cartesianism, and Newtonianism. Jacques Rohault’s Treatise on Physics and Samuel Clarke’s Newtonian annotations. Masterclass on Isaac Newton’s Philosophical Projects, IRH, University of Bucharest, 06-10.10.2015.

Dobre, Mihnea. Reading group Genesis and the new science. The case of Cartesian philosophy (with Daniel Garber). Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, Bran, Romania, 12-17.07.2015.

Dumitru, Claudia. Attending the conference Finding a Path through the Woods: Analyzing Francis Bacon’s Sylva sylvarum (II), TU Berlin, 24-25.03.2015.

Jalobeanu, Dana. Paper on “Patterns of inquisition in Francis Bacon’s natural history,” in the workshop on Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum (organized by Arianna Borelli, Cesare Pastorino at the Technical University Berlin), 24-25.03.2015.

Jalobeanu, Dana. Paper on “Collaborative aspects of Baconian experimentation” (in a panel organized by Cesare Pastorino), Renaissance Society of America, 26-28.03.2015.

Jalobeanu, Dana. Paper on “’A science of the orbs themselves’ vitalism, magnetical philosophy and the constitution of space” in the Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, Bran, Romania, 12-17.07.2015.

Jalobeanu, Dana. Paper on “Types of hypotheses in Newton’s queries: A Baconian Inheritance.” Masterclass on Isaac Newton’s Philosophical Projects, IRH, University of Bucharest, 06-10.10.2015..

Matei, Oana. Paper on “Baconian reception in the Hartlib Circle: John Evelyn’s projects of natural history” in the Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, Bran, Romania, 12-17.07.2015.

Rusu, Doina-Cristina. Round table on “Bacon’s Concept of Change: Assimilation, Transmutation, and Maturation” in the conference Finding a Path through the Woods: Analyzing Francis Bacon’s Sylva sylvarum (II), TU Berlin, 24-25.03.2015.

Rusu, Doina-Cristina. Paper on “Francis Bacon’s Concept of Form: ‘Pneumatic Matter in Motion’,” in the Renaissance Society of America, 26-28.03.2015.

Rusu, Doina-Cristina. Paper on “Francis Bacon’s Concept of Form: Between Aristotle and Vitalist Philosophy” in the British Society for the History of Philosophy, University of York, 9-11.04.2015.

Rusu, Doina-Cristina. Paper on “Manipulating matter and its appetites: Francis Bacon on causation and the creation of preternatural” in the Second Workshop on contingency, Max Plank Institute, Berlin, 12.05.2015.

Rusu, Doina-Cristina. Paper on “Pneumatic Matter and its Motions in Francis Bacon’s Natural Histories” in the Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, Bran, Romania, 12-17.07.2015.