Paolo Palmieri, Associate Professor (

My research interests focus on the traditions that shaped the values of modernity over a period spanning the late middle ages to the twentieth century. I am fascinated by the creativity processes at the crossroads of art, science, and technology. My pedagogical and philosophical interests include Montessori method, pragmatism, phenomenology, post-humanism, heresy and mysticism, and their intersections with the natural and humane sciences.

I am the Editor of a book series: History and Philosophy of Science: Heresy, Crossroads, and Intersections (Peter Lang)

Education and Work

2002 PhD History and Philosophy of Science (STS University College, University of London )

1998 Degree Philosophy, University of Bologna

1989-1995 Engineer Ferrari Formula One Racing Team 090226_logo-ferrari_156x97.jpg

1987 Degree Aeronautical Engineering, Polytechnic of Milan



hermes and the telescope(2016) Hermes and the Telescope. In the Crucible of Galileo's Life-World. Peter Lang LINK




cover humanistic ecology.jpg(2011) Humanistic Ecology: The Integration of Magic, Medicine, and Science. Common Ground. LINK


cover ecology of learning.jpg(2012) ′′Dont Disturb my Masterpiece! ′′ Towards an Ecology of Learning. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. LINK


cover reduced.jpg(2011) A History of Galileos Inclined Plane Experiment and Its Philosophical Implications. Foreword by David Wootton. The Edwin Mellen Press. LINK

(Download here the supporting multimedia materials file).

A review of the book by the late Curtis Wilson.


final cover small.jpg(2008) Reenacting Galileos Experiments: Rediscovering the Techniques of Seventeenth-Century Science. Foreword by William R. Shea. The Edwin Mellen Press. LINK





My Mellen books are supported by multimedia materials and videos of experiments which are available upon request to the author.




(2014) ′The postilion′s horn sounds′: a complementarity approach to the phenomenology of sound-consciousness? Husserl Studies 30, 129-151.


(2012) Signals, cochlear mechanics and pragmatism: a new vista on human hearing? Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 24, 527-545.


(2011) A morphological theory of human hearing. In: WHAT FIRE IS IN MINE EARS: Progress in Auditory Biomechanics. Proceedings of the 11th International Mechanics of Hearing Workshop. Editor(s): Christopher A. Shera, Elizabeth S. Olson. Melville, NY: The American Institute of Physics, 363-368.


(2011) Il mondo di carta di Giovanni Vailati. Annuario del centro studi Giovanni Vailati. 2008/2009, 19-25.


(2009) A phenomenology of Galileo′s experiments with pendulums. The British Journal for the History of Science 42, 479-513. Download here the First View paper with supporting document.


(2009) Experimental history: swinging pendulums and melting shellac. Endeavour 33, 88-92.


(2009) Response to Maarten Van Dyck′s commentary. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 40, 319-321.


(2009) Superposition: on Cavalieri′s practice of mathematics. Archive for History of Exact Sciences 63, 471-495.


(2009) Radical mathematical Thomism: beings of reason and divine decrees in Torricelli′s philosophy of mathematics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 40, 131-142.

(2008) Galileus deceptus, non minime decepit: A re-appraisal of a counter-argument in Dialogo to the extrusion effect of a rotating earth. Journal for the History of Astronomy 39, 425-452.

(2008) Breaking the circle: the emergence of Archimedean mechanics in the late Renaissance. Archive for History of Exact Sciences 62, 301-346.

(2008) The empirical basis of equilibrium: Mach, Vailati, and the lever. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 39, 42-53.

(2007) Science and authority in Giacomo Zabarella. History of Science 45, 404-42.

(2006) A new look at Galileo′s search for mathematical proofs. Archive for History of Exact Sciences 60, 285-317.

(2005) Galileo′s construction of idealized fall in the void. History of Science 43, 343-389.

(2005) ′Spuntar lo scoglio piuduro′: did Galileo ever think the most beautiful thought experiment in the history of science? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 36, 223-240.

(2005) The cognitive development of Galileo′s theory of buoyancy. Archive for History of Exact Sciences 50, 189-222.

(2003) Mental models in Galileo′s early mathematization of nature. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 34, 229-264.

(2001) The obscurity of the equimultiples. Clavius′ and Galileo′s foundational studies of Euclid′s theory of proportions. Archive for History of Exact Sciences 55, 555-597.

(2001 Galileo and the discovery of the phases of Venus. Journal for the History of Astronomy 32, 109-129.

(2001) Galileo did not steal the discovery of Venus′ phases: a counter-argument to Westfall. In: Largo campo di filosofare. Eurosymposium Galileo 2001. Editor(s): Montesinos, J., & Solis, C. La Orotava, Fundacion Canaria Orotava de Historia de la Ciencia, 2001, 433-444.

(1998) Re-examining Galileo′s theory of tides. Archive for History of Exact Sciences 53, 223-375.




Recent Presentations


2016 3 Societies Meeting BSHS, CSHPS, HSS, 22-25 June, University of Alberta, Canada

2015 54th Annual SPEP Conference, October 8-10, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

2015 4th Joint Conference of the IAAP (International Association for Analytical Psychology) and the IAJS (International Association of Jungian Studies), July 9-12, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

2015 Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, June 15-17, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri,  Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

2014 Invited Lecture (with R. Mundy), Center for the Study of Music and Philosophy, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

2014 Invited Lecture, St John′s College, Santa Fe, NM

2014 39th Annual Conference of the International Merleau-Ponty Circle, Geneva, Switzerland

2014 Intellectual Hinterlands, Victoria College, University of Toronto, Canada

2014 Invited Lecture, American Physical Society Meeting, Savannah, Georgia

2014 Invited Lecture, Philosophy of Scientific Experimentation 4, Pittsburgh, PA





HPS 1531 Man and the Cosmos in the European Renaissance

In this course, we will explore the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci, his struggle to become a truly cosmic being. Leonardo was a queer, in love with beauty, ugliness, and the anarchy of the imagination. He painted, drew, and created androgynous realities that defy ontological categories. His manuscripts and paintings are material reflections of his quest for the divine and the infinite. Leonardo united the masculine and the feminine natures as the Greek philosopher Plato had theorized. You will actively experiment with ideas such as sexuality, attraction, diversity, the body and its language, the non-human animal, the elements, the dream of flight and the mystery of birds, engineering, graphic design, spirituality and religious symbolism. All are welcome to express their intellectual, artistic, and LGBTQIA orientation. There are no exams, no quizzes, and no prerequisites. The instructor is Rainbow Alliance trained.


HPS 0685 Mathematics and Culture

Mathematics and Culture investigates the cultural origins of early modern European mathematics. The course focuses on arithmetic, mechanics, and

other mathematical disciplines, placing them in the context of the mercantile societies that revolutionized the social, economic, and intellectual structures of early modern Europe. The course is based on both primary and secondary readings. Students will explore notions such as commodity, circulation, abstraction, algorithm, value, and theory of proportion. They will learn how to expand their conceptual vocabulary, how to reflect critically on the cultural basis of mathematics, and thus appreciate better the roots of its pervasive role in contemporary science and society. There are no prerequisites, all are welcome.


HPS 0430 Galileo and the Creation of Modern Science

The Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was a decisive figure in the rise of modern science. First, he ushered in a new era in astronomy when he aimed a 30-powered telescope at the sky in 1610. Second, he revolutionized the concept of science when he argued that the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics. Finally, he astounded the theologians, who eventually condemned him to life imprisonment, when he claimed that the scientist′s search for the truth must not be constrained by religious authority. This course studies Galileo in the broader intellectual, social, and religious context of early modern Europe.


HPS 0700 History and Philosophy of Musical Science

Do you really love music? Musical science teaches you why! In this course, you will learn about musical science in antiquity, music in the scientific revolution, musical science and aesthetics, animal music, psychoacoustics, and the nature of harmony. Musical science has shaped the history of human civilization. It has informed not only hearing but thinking. This course focuses on reading historical and philosophical texts, listening to sound and music, and a hands-on approach to learning.


HPS 0515 Magic, Medicine and Science

In Western civilization, magic, medicine, and science have always been deeply related to one another. This course introduces students from all backgrounds to humanistic ecology, an interdisciplinary method of learning which combines the history of magic, medicine, and science with the humanities. Humanistic ecology teaches how to integrate scientific research, philosophy, pedagogy, literature, and health in a holistic framework. Students will learn about classical forms of self-transformation, healing, and knowing, which have been the foundations of Western civilization for more than two millennia, and which will help them find original pathways to knowledge and wellbeing.


HPS 1508 Classics in History of Science: Galileo′s Two New Sciences

Four hundred years ago Galileo Galilei aimed a telescope at the sky. He revolutionized astronomy. Equally revolutionary were his theories and experiments in physics, published in his masterpiece Two New Sciences. In this course we will learn why Galileo′s theories and experiments in physics were revolutionary. We read Galileo′s Two New Sciences, setting it in the context of the history and philosophy of Western science and civilization.





HPS 2522 Scholasticism

This seminar explores the intellectual movement known as European Scholasticism, comparing and contrasting its nature with the debates it spawned. Scholasticism inherited ancient Greek philosophy and recast it in the framework of Christianity, shaping a worldview that laid the philosophical foundations of Western civilization. History and philosophy of science, analytic philosophy, and higher education institutions such as the university have their roots in Scholasticism, which spanned the late Middles Ages to the end of the seventeenth century. We investigate the scholastic origins of fundamental philosophical categories such as method, reality, essence, science, causality, demonstration, substance, order, analysis and synthesis.


HPS 2522 Helmholtz (with Mazviita Chirimuuta)

Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) played a major role in the history of science and philosophy. This seminar will explore Helmholtz′s fundamental contributions especially to the neurophysiology of hearing (including topics such as perception of sound, frequency analysis, harmony) and vision (including topics such as color and depth perception). We will examine Helmholtz′s influential idea of perception as ′unconscious inference′ and we will also consider his work in physics and the popularization of science. We will place Helmholtz in the intellectual and cultural context of the nineteenth century, investigate the debates that informed his philosophy of science, and look at the lasting influence that he had on twentieth-century science and philosophy. For example, we will read some recent work in perceptual theory which casts unconscious inference in Bayesian terms.


HPS 2522 Human/Animal in Western Civilization

This seminar explores the liminality that has continually demarcated the frontier between human and animal in the history of Western civilization. We will engage diverse historical-philosophical approaches to the question of what constitutes human as opposed to animal, beginning with ancient Greek philosophy, and tracing contemporary ideas back to their origins in the Graeco-Christian worldview. The seminar investigates the shifting human/animal frontier during the Renaissance and the scientific revolution of the seventeenth-century, in the Enlightenment and Romanticism, and in contemporary thought. By reconstructing the genesis of human/animal debates, the seminar transgresses the bounds of sectarian divisions between styles of thinking.


HPS 2522 History and Philosophy of Musical Science

This seminar explores historical and philosophical questions concerning music as a form of knowledge in the history of Western civilization (with some ethno-musicological excursuses relatively beyond). These questions include (but are not limited to): The emergence of music theory in antiquity; the role of music in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century; the relation between music as a science and musical aesthetics; music and mathematics; music and cognition in humans and animals; the foundations of modern psychoacoustics; the nature of harmony.


HPS 2511 Genesis and Geology

This seminar explores the development of changing views on the nature of fossils and their contribution to the understanding of the history of the earth from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. Religious controversies on the age of the earth and natural-philosophical inquiry into the meaning of fossils contributed to the emergence of fundamental scientific notions, such as evolution, catastrophism, uniformitarianism, and geological time.


HPS 2522 Galileo and All That

This seminar focuses on Galileo′s contributions to the cultural revolution of the seventeenth century, including the astronomical discoveries, the physics of falling bodies, the philosophy of nature, the harmony of religion and science. The seminar approaches Galileo in the broader humanistic, philosophical, mathematical and religious context of early modern Europe. His ingenious experiments are re-enacted in the HPS laboratory where his creative pathways towards knowledge are reconstructed. The seminar traces his lasting legacy in the controversies that shaped the history and philosophy of modern science.


HPS 2524 Experimental History of and Philosophy Science

In this seminar, we take an experimental approach to the history and philosophy of science. We engage both in theoretical discussion and in experiment design, implementation, and interpretation. We learn about landmark experiments in the history of science, and have hands-on activities in the HPS laboratory. The seminar offers a challenging educational setting, emphasizing active participation rather than passive transmission of doctrines.


HPS 2522 History and Philosophy of Early Calculus

This seminar explores historical and philosophical questions concerning early calculus. These questions include: Indivisibles quantities vs. infinitesimal quantities, the problem of tangents, fluxions vs. differentials, analysis/ synthesis, limits/ integration, discovery/ emergence/ justification in mathematics.


HPS 2518 The Unity of Science

This seminar focuses on the changing conceptions of the structure and unity/disunity of science as a whole in the modern era. The seminar explores how these conceptions relate to questions regarding the proper domain of the sciences, the notion of method, skepticism and foundationalism.


University of Pittsburgh School of Arts and Sciences