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Filip Buyse joins the Vossius Center in September for three months as a Research Fellow with his project 'A.C. Crombie’s forgotten manuscript and its relevance for the current history of science'.

About the project

The aim of this project is threefold. First of all, it aims to examine whether this extensive work of more than 2000 pages - entitled “Galileo and Mersenne: Science, Nature and the Senses in the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries“ - adds something new to Crombie’s earlier work.

Secondly, this research examines whether Crombie’s work on Galileo and Mersenne adds something new to other existing Galileo scholarly. This is a relevant question given the fact that Crombie’s interpretation is very different from those of leading contemporaries such as A. Koyré and S. Drake. More precisely, Crombie does not present Galilei as a mathematician, neither as an experimenter. For Crombie, Galileo is, in the first place, a philosopher. This interpretation raises several questions such as: How did Galileo arrive at his thesis of the mathematization of nature? How did he blow up the metaphysical distinction between the artificial and the natural? What’s the origin of his epistemology of the secondary/secondary qualities of bodies? How did he conceive “experimenting”? Crombie’s extensive work - with exceptional attention for context - certainly offers enough material in order to address these questions.

Thirdly, this project examines whether Crombie’s last work opens (or closes) a door towards an additional “style” besides the ones he had already distinguished in his Styles of Scientific Thinking. (Kwa, 2005, 13). More specifically, the aim is to find out - based on a detailed study of Crombie’s chapters on experimenting - whether introducing a new “style” related to mechanics and technology is a valid approach.

About the researcher

Filip Buyse is visiting researcher of the University of Oxford. He obtained his PhD degree in 2015 at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon – Sorbonne with his thesis The Conception of the Body in Spinoza and Galileo.