CFP: Journal of Early Modern Studies

Special Issue of the Journal of Early Modern Studies (November 2018)

Editors: Dana Jalobeanu, Grigore Vida

The Mathematization of Natural Philosophy between Practical Knowledge and Disciplinary Blending

While most of the classical narratives about the “mathematization of nature” have become obsolete, questions concerned with the mathematization of natural philosophy are still central to the inquiries into the emergence of modern science. Nowadays, historians prefer to speak about “forms of mathematization” in the early modern period (Roux ed., 2010, 2017), in recognition of the diversity of approaches, many of which are still in need of further investigation. Special attention was given to mathematical practices, in tune with the important research that has been done in the past couple of years to reveal the various “structures of practical knowledge” (Valleriani ed., 2017). What we propose in this special issue is to take stock of the recent developments, while opening new directions of inquiry regarding the disciplinary status of mathematical knowledge in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. We intend to look for “points of intersection,” forms of borrowing and blending between mathematical disciplines and natural philosophy. We are particularly interested in case studies which take into account both theoretical aspects and elements of practical knowledge. We would like to look, in particular, at how various forms of disciplinary intersections and blending shaped practices of measuring, instrument calibration and other quantification procedures from mid sixteenth century to the mid eighteenth century.

Questions to be addressed by our special issue comprise (but are not reducible to):

  • What is the relation between mathematical practices and the formation of natural philosophical concepts?
  • How were problem-solving methods from mathematics used in natural philosophy?
  • What role played natural philosophical concepts or theories in the actual solving of mathematical problems or even in rethinking the status of mathematical axioms, postulates etc.?
  • Which were the direct borrowings between the two disciplines (theoretical, methodological etc.)? When was the analogical transfer of knowledge encouraged, and when was it forbidden?
  • What is the relation between the so-called “practical mathematics” and natural history?
  • What was the role played by imagination in both mathematics and natural philosophy (heuristic, constructivist etc.)?

Journal of the Early Modern Studies is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal, dedicated to the exploration of the interactions between philosophy, science and religion in Early Modern Europe. JEMS publishes high-quality articles reporting results of research in intellectual history, history of philosophy and history of early modern science, with a special interest in cross-disciplinary approaches. The main language of the journal is English, although contributions in French are also accepted. We are seeking articles no longer than 10.000 words. Deadline for submissions: March 15, 2018. Send submissions to


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