The ERC Group Early Modern Cosmology (based at Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice, GA n. 725883), in partnership with the Bucharest-Princeton Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, invites applications for the summer symposium
Heavens on Trial
Venice and the Venetian Alps, June 15-20, 2020

Early modernity was the stage of heated cosmological debates. These, far from concerning only abstract mathematical or physical problems, had a number of metaphysical and institutional consequences that exacerbated controversies on issues such as planetary systems, plurality or unicity of worlds, the essence of space, the infinity of the universe, the explanation of comets, the texture of celestial matter and the fluidity of the heavens. Moreover, revising the planetary system often meant to provide a new understanding of the basic metaphysical structure that governed the world-system, often challenging religious convictions and dogmata; at the same time, churches and political institutions were important factors in shaping and controlling cosmological models and opinions; new institutions of knowledge were decisive both in normalizing through education a given set of cosmological notions, and in proposing significant innovations in natural philosophy; not least, geographical explorations, exchanges of knowledge between homelands and colonies, and new intellectual networks prompted the circulation of new cosmological ideas.

This symposium focuses on the variety and richness of aspects that surrounded the early modern debates on cosmology (e.g., philosophical, confessional, and intellectual), as well as on the actors and institutions (e.g., universities, networks, churches, and political powers) that played a role in their formation and dissemination. Cosmology is here broadly conceived as the scientific knowledge of the order of the world at the intersection of many disciplinary realms, including natural philosophy, astronomy, astrology, optics, mechanics, and theology, to name only the most evident ones.

The list of confirmed senior participants so far includes (in alphabetic order) Roger Ariew, Antonio Clericuzio, Mihnea Dobre, Daniel Garber, Dana Jalobeanu, Oana Matei, Pietro D. Omodeo, Jacomien Prins, Sophie Roux, Darrel Rutkin, Charles T. Wolfe.

We welcome individual paper submissions on questions related to natural philosophy in the early modern period (roughly, from the Renaissance to the early decades of the 18th century) that are broadly connected with the general themes of the symposium. We invite applications from both graduate students and senior scholars. The participation costs for graduate students (including accommodation and meals from the 14/06 to 20/06) will be covered.

To apply, please send a paper proposal (max. 500 words) by February 10 to Graduate students and junior scholars are also asked to send a one page-covering letter to motivate their interest in the symposium. As the number of places is limited, an ad-hoc committee will select and notify successful applications. We will favor applicants who can confirm their presence for the whole period of the symposium.

Program. The opening day (June 15) of the event will take place in Venice, University Ca’ Foscari, with the presentation of the symposium and key-note presentations. On the evening of the 15th, the group (around 35 people) will be carried by bus to a locality in the Alps (Pieve del Grappa, TV), where the symposium will take place (from Tuesday 16 to Friday 19 included). During these days, the mornings will be devoted to the discussion of specific texts and to the collective exploration of specific topics connected with the general subject of the symposium. During the afternoon, individual papers will be presented and discussed. On Saturday 20, the group will be brought back to Venice via bus.

For question, please contact Rodolfo Garau (