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Exploring the Renaissance view of the cosmic dimension

A Marie Curie Fellowship project investigated the impact of Renaissance humanism on the development of natural philosophy. Researchers took an interdisciplinary approach, since this area of interest involves the histories of philosophy, science, theology and medicine.
Exploring the Renaissance view of the cosmic dimension
The project 'Renaissance humanism and natural philosophy' (THE COSMIC SOUL) covered two major objectives. The first was to examine Renaissance and early modern conceptions of the soul and of the principle of life in its cosmic dimension. The second was to evaluate the impact of philosophical debates amongst Renaissance humanists on the evolution of natural philosophy in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Researchers explored a wide range of source materials within the framework of the project, and discovered a number of hitherto unstudied Latin sources from various European academic backgrounds. These are posited as likely having exercised an intellectual influence on the evolution of scientific thought.

One area of research in particular focused on the recovery and translations of ancient Greek and Latin sources and medical texts by medical humanists, medical doctors and humanist philologists. The intention was to study how they conceptualised celestial influences on conception, generation and reproduction.

Other areas of THE COSMIC SOUL's focus included the evolution of traditional notions of celestial influence and the emergence of alternative scientific explanations. Project findings have been presented in books, articles, papers and seminar lectures, in Europe and beyond. Plans exist to synthesise the various lectures and papers in a book aimed at a broader, non-specialised readership.

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