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Durham e-Theses
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Alessandro Tassoni and His World: Science and Knowledge in Early Modern Italy

VIGNIERI, VALENTINA (2022) Alessandro Tassoni and His World: Science and Knowledge in Early Modern Italy. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis examines the evolution of cosmology in the first half of the seventeenth century
through a case study of the erudite Alessandro Tassoni (1565−1635) and his Pensieri diversi
(1608−1627), an encylopedia covering scientific, literary, historical, and philosophical topics.
Highly successful during the seventeenth century, read even by Galileo Galilei, the Pensieri
diversi has received little scholarly attention. However, it offers a significant contribution to
our understanding of the evolution of early modern cosmology because it was published during
the early seventeenth century when profound changes in representations of the structure of the
cosmos were occurring. Specifically, it sheds light on scientific debates in the decades
immediately preceding Galileo’s Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo (1632).
With his Pensieri diversi, Tassoni facilitated the dissemination of scientific disputes
across a wider public of erudite non-specialists by using an easy-to-read question and answer
format. Yet, he did not simply reproduce opinions from late medieval thought and
contemporaneous cosmological debates but instead offered his own critique.
I analyse three key themes from the Pensieri diversi (motion, cosmos and immobility of
the Earth). These topics open up more nuanced understanding of those complex issues that,
over time, led to epistemological changes in the field of the history of science. In order to point
out Tassoni’s contribution to the science of early seventeenth century, I set his scientific and
philosophical speculations in their historical and sociological context, and I also provide close
textual and theoretical analysis of Tassoni’s cosmological ideas. Thus, I address, more
generally, the relationship between scientific and scholarly culture at the dawn of the Scientific

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Alessandro Tassoni, Pensieri diversi, Natural Philosophy, Early Modern Cosmology, Scientific Revolution
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:25 May 2022 11:17

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