Paolo Celi

Paolo Celi

Ahmanson Fellow
When the World Stopped Making Sense. The Debate on Mathematics as Science at the Accademia degli Infiammati in Padua
Paolo Celi


Paolo Celi is a Teaching Assistant of Italian Literature at the Department of Philology, Literature and Linguistics at University of Pisa. He researches Italian poetry from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with particular attention to the lyrical tradition and artists and writers at the time Cosimo I ruled in Florence. He has been a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University (2017), an Erasmus Trainee at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris III (2018), and a research assistant at Concordia University in Montreal (2021).

Project Summary

In 1533, the first edition in print of Proclus' commentary on the first book of Euclid's Elements sparked a debate on the status of mathematics. For the Platonists, mathematics should be placed at the center of the scientific paradigm; for the most intransigent among the Aristotelians, it should adopt an ancillary position. The project aims to tell the story of three Aristotelians, Alessandro Piccolomini, Benedetto Varchi e Sperone Speroni, members of the Accademia degli Infiammati in Padua, and their attempt to reform Aristotelianism. The goal of the project is to explore the mathematical writings of these three authors, whose work challenged the Aristotelian model and could have influenced the trajectory of modern science.