April 2020–July 2021
Mathematical Dialectics. The Art of Demonstration by Simon Stevin
Simon Stevin (1549-1620) was one of the most famous scientists of the early modern period. He made fundamental contributions to the science of mechanics and hydrostatics, and invented among other things the decimal system for fractions. This project examines Stevin’s method to study “the secrets of nature” by putting the focus on his often neglected treatise on logic entitled “Dialectics or the Art of Demonstration.” (Leiden: Plantijn, 1585). Stevin’s work on logic has never been translated, nor has it been studied in depth. This project will situate the Dialectike in its context, posing the question how Stevin managed to integrate scholastic dialectical method with a “modern” outlook on empirical science. The project will result (a) in a critical edition and translation of Stevin’s Dialectike and (b) in a number of articles that examine Stevin’s use of common language as well as his extraordinary views on matter.
Marius Buning received his PhD in History and Civilization from the European University Institute (2013) with a dissertation on the making of a patent system in the early Dutch Republic. Marius has held fellowships at Harvard University, The Dutch Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS), and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. His research interests focus on the origins of intellectual property; the relationship between science and technology; how experiment bears upon theory; and the part played by the early modern state in defining these respective fields.