Bernardino Telesio, the Natural Sciences and Medicine in the Renaissance

May 27, 2015 | 09:30 AM - 06:30 PM
Workshop “Bernardino Telesio, the Natural Sciences and Medicine in the Renaissance”

Workshop “Bernardino Telesio, the Natural Sciences and Medicine in the Renaissance”

Workshop by the project B06 ”Premodern Cosmological Formations of Knowledge: Tradition and Change from a Diachronic and Transcultural Perspective” (Head: J. Renn), organized by Pietro Daniel Omodeo

Although Telesio is an ‘author of one single work,’ his natural science is multifarious, rich and complex. His legacy cannot be reduced to simple schemes.

His magnum opus is the fruit of a whole life dedicated to intense study and research aimed at revealing the deepest secrets of nature and its first principles and, at the same time, clarifying specific phenomena.

The breadth as well as the attention to detail in Telesio’s De natura iuxta propria principia results in the inclusion of questions that are apparently remote from a standard understanding of natural science, for example the psycho-physical issues, anthropological problems and ethical themes introduced in the third extended edition of the work in 1586.

This variety is also characteristic of the posthumous books on natural science, a rich collection of scientific materials, which were printed by Telesio’s loyal pupil, Antonio Persio, under the rather generic title Varii de naturalibus rebus libelli (1590).

The issues discussed in this miscellanea ranged from comets to earthquakes, tides and rainbows. They also comprised discussions on medical, physiological and cognitive questions like respiration, taste and sleep.

In spite of the apparent disparity of these questions, they are made coherent by the author’s visionary spirit and his grand project for a systematic treatment of nature. He accomplished this ambitious philosophical program as an explicit polemic against the Aristotelian-scholastic tradition, which was still held in great esteem at the universities of the time.

The pillars of Telesio’s conception were an epistemology based on the reliability of the senses and a dynamic view of nature, which he pitted against the abstract, and thus ill-founded, rational constructions of the Scholastics. According to him, nature’s dynamism rested on an eternal opposition between the principals of celestial heat and terrestrial coldness and their effect on passive matter.

This workshop aims to discuss and clarify the historical-scientific framework of Telesio’s conceptions of nature from an interdisciplinary perspective ranging from the history of natural philosophy to that of astronomy, meteorology, medicine and psychology.

The languages of the workshop will be Italian and English.

Max Planck Institute for the history of science History of Science, Berlin, in collaboration with the Collaborative Research Centre 980 ”Episteme in Bewegung”, Freie Universität Berlin, and the Centro Internazionale di Studi Telesiani Bruniani e Campanelliani, Cosenzain.


9.30–10 a.m.

Welcome address

Jürgen Renn (Berlin)

Nuccio Ordine (Cosenza)
“Presentazione della collaborazione tra il Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte e il Centro Internazionale di Studi Telesiani Bruniani e Campanelliani”

10–10.45 a.m.

Roberto Bondi (Cosenza)
“Il primo dei moderni: Telesio tra Bacon e Galileo”

10.45–11 a.m.

Coffee break

11–11.45 a.m.

Elio Nenci (Milano)
“In Search of the True Nature of the Rainbow: the Renewal of the Aristotelian Tradition and the De iride

11.45 a.m.– 12.30 p.m.

Pietro Daniel Omodeo (Berlin)
“Telesio’s Tidal Theory in De mari x-xiii”

12.30–1.15 p.m.

Oreste Trabucco (Napoli)
“Meteorologia telesiana: una diuturna polemica”

1.15–3 p.m.

Lunch break

3.15–4 p.m.

Hiro Hirai (Nijmegen)
“Telesio and His Use of Averroes”

4–4.45 p.m.

Miguel Ángel Granada (Barcelona)
“‚Spiritus‘ e ‚anima a Deo immissa‘ in Telesio”

4.45–5 p.m.

Coffee break

5–5.45 p.m.

Rodolfo Garau (Torino/Berlin)
“Self-Preservation in Telesio: Natural Philosophy and Ethics”

5.45–6.30 p.m.

Riccarda Suitner (Erfurt-Gotha)
“Reformation, Naturalism and Telesian Philosophy: the Case of Agostino Doni”

Time & Location

May 27, 2015 | 09:30 AM - 06:30 PM

Main Conference Hall, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin