Project (2018-2019)

Editing Le mecaniche and Reevaluating the Practical Knowledge of Renaissance Engineers

My main objective is to publish a critical edition, a French translation, and a systematic commentary of Galileo’s Le mecaniche. After confronting the concepts elaborated by Galileo with those of other sixteenth-century treatises on simple machines, or even of ancient mechanics, and in showing how in his later works Galileo reused these concepts, I will work on two related studies:
1. A historiographical study of the historians who raised the question of the place of technology in the development of modern science between the two World Wars. Studying Leonardo Olschki, Boris Hessen, Henryk Grossman, Egdar Zilsel, and Franz Borkenau will help to refute the prejudice according to which history of science began by being intellectual and then only became social as well as also to explore various propositions concerning the relations between science and technonology.
2. An epistemological study of the kind of knowledge that engineers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries developed. This knowledge has often been described in terms of “practical,” “tacit,” or “implicit” knowledge. But the category of tacit knowledge, which stimulated a lot of publications among philosophers since Michael Polanyi and Gilbert Ryle, has been used more than analyzed among historians of science and needs to be clarified and historicized.