© 2018

The Path to Post-Galilean Epistemology

Reinterpreting the Birth of Modern Science


Part of the History of Mechanism and Machine Science book series (HMMS, volume 34)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Danilo Capecchi
    Pages 1-67
  3. Danilo Capecchi
    Pages 69-145
  4. Danilo Capecchi
    Pages 261-351
  5. Danilo Capecchi
    Pages 495-527
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 529-533

About this book


This book casts new light on the process that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries led to a profound transformation in the study of nature with the emergence of mechanistic philosophy, the new mixed mathematics, and the establishment of the experimental approach. It is argued that modern European science originated from Hellenistic mathematics not so much because of rediscovery of the latter but rather because its “applied” components, namely mechanics, optics, harmonics, and astronomy, and their methodologies continued to be transmitted throughout the Middle Ages without serious interruption. Furthermore, it is proposed that these “applied” components played a role in their entirety; thus, for example, “new” mechanics derived not only from “old” mechanics but also from harmonics, optics, and astronomy. Unlike other texts on the subject, the role of mathematicians is stressed over that of philosophers of nature and the focus is particularly on epistemological aspects. In exploring Galilean and post-Galilean epistemology, attention is paid to the contributions of Galileo’s disciples and also the impact of his enemies. The book will appeal to both historians of science and scientists.


Experimental Philosophy Renaissance Science Galilean epistemology Physico-mathematica Mixed Mathematics History of Mechanics History of Mathematics Philosophy of Nature

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Ingegneria Strutturale e GeotecnicaSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

About the authors

Danilo Capecchi is Professor of Mechanics of Solids and History of Science at the University of Rome La Sapienza. His research into the history of science focuses mainly on classical mechanics.

Bibliographic information

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“For those interested in a deep understanding of the changes in (applied) mathematics—as well as in natural philosophy—that occurred in the early modern era, the pleasant reading of the present book is certainly encouraged.” (Salvatore Esposito, Mathematical Reviews, March, 2018)

“This deep and well documented work traces the history of the (increasingly) mathematical treatment of natural phenomena … from the time of Plato and Aristotle to Descartes. … The breadth of sources and the care with which they are documented should make this work an important source for those with a strong interest in the history of science. The author introduces the work and methods of the famous and the not-so-famous in an engaging, detailed and complete manner.” (Richard J. Wilders, MAA Reviews, September, 2017)