Philosophy and scientific revolution


Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)

The Transformation of Modern Thought – Philosophy, psychoanalysis, culture

Course code: 23 

Year of study: Not specified

Course principal:
Assoc. Prof. Matjaž Vesel, Ph.D.


Workload: lectures 60 hours, seminar 30 hours

Course type: general elective 

Languages: Slovene 

Learning and teaching methods: lectures, discussions classes 


Course syllabus


None required.


Content (Syllabus outline):

The philosophical, epistemological, and institutional presuppositions of the scientific revolution:

  • The continuity or discontinuity of medieval and early modern »science«
  • Universities and the universe
  • The »scientific« renaissance
  • Experience and experiment
  • Mathematics and the philosophy of nature


The philosophical, theological, and scientific legacy of antiquity and the middle ages:

  • The Greeks and the cosmos
  • Aristotle and Aristotelianism
  • Mathematical sciences in antiquity
  • The discovery and assimilation of Greek and Islamic knowledge in the Latin west
  • The medieval cosmos
  • Medieval physics of the sublunar world


Copernicus, Copernicanism, and anti-Copernicanism:

  • Astronomical “instrumentalism” and “realism”
  • The movement of the Earth
  • The structure of the universe
  • Theology and astronomy


“Galilean science”:

  • Astronomical discoveries
  • Natura and scriptura
  • Systems of the world


New natural philosophy: Scholastical, Mechanical and Experimental:

  • The world
  • Methods
  • Philosophy
  • Mathematical principles of natural philosophy



Primary sources:

  • Akvinski, T. 1998. O počelih narave za brata Silvestra, Filozofski vestnik 19(3).
  • Aristotel, 2004. Fizika. Ljubljana: Slovenska matica.
  • Aristotel, 2004. O nebu. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Aristotel. 2012. Druga analitika. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Bellarmino, R. 2008. Pismo Antoniu Foscariniju. Filozofski vestnik 29(1).
  • Bruno, G. 2004. Kozmološki dialogi. Ljubljana: Slovenska matica.
  • Buffon, Maupertuis, Diderot. 2013. Razsvetljenske interpretacije narave. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Clavius, Ch. 2008. Komentar Sacroboscove Sfere. Filozofski vestnik 29(1).
  • Descartes, R. 1989 in 2018. Principi filozofije. Problemi-Razprave 27(5) in Filozofski vestnik 39(1).
  • Descartes, R. 2007. Razprava o metodi. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Einstein, Balibar. 2014. Teorija relativnosti. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Galilei, G. 2007. Zvezdni glasnik. V: M. Vesel, Nebeške novice Galilea Galileija. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Galilei, G. 2008. Razmišljanja o kopernikanskem mnenju. Filozofski vestnik 29(1).
  • Galilei, G. 2009. Dialog o dveh velikih sistemih sveta. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Gemin. 2008. Povzetek Pozejdonijeve Razprave o nebesnih telesih. Filozofski vestnik 29(1).
  • Grosseteste, R. 2013. O svetlobi ali o začetku oblik. Filozofski vestnik 34(1).
  • Kepler, J. 2007. Razgovor z Zvezdnim glasnikom. V: M. Vesel, Nebeške novice Galilea Galileija. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Kepler, J. 2008. Skrivnost sveta, Filozofski vestnik 29(1).
  • Kepler, J. 2008. Zagovor Tycha proti Ursu, Filozofski vestnik 29(1).
  • Kopernik, N. 2003. O revolucijah nebesnih sfer. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Leibniz, G. W. 1979. Izbrani filozofski spisi. Ljubljana. Slovenska mattica.
  • Newton, I. 2020. Izbrani spisi I. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Oresme. 2004. Knjiga o nebu in svetu II, 25. Filozofski vestnik 25(3).
  • Plinij Starejši. 2012. Naravoslovje 1: Kozmologija in geografija. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Ptolemaj, K. 2009. Almagest, 1. knjiga. Filozofski vestnik 29(1).


Secondary sources:

  • Blumenberg, H. 2001. Geneza kopernikanskega sveta. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba.
  • Canguilhem, G. 2005. Vloga epistemologije v sodobnem znanstvenem zgodovinopisju, Filozofski vestnik 26(1): 107-121.
  • Clavelin, M. 1996. La philosophie naturelle de Galilée. Pariz: Albin Michel.
  • Cohen, H. F. 1994. The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Dear, P. 2001. Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and its Ambitions, 1500-1700. New York: Palgrave.
  • Feyerabend, P. 1999. Proti metodi. Ljubljana: Studia humanitatis.
  • Garin, E. 1993. Spisi o humanizmu in renesansi. Ljubljana: ŠKUC in Filozofska fakulteta.
  • Grant, E. 1996. The Foundations of Modern Science in The Middle Ages. Their Religious, Institutional and Intellectual Context, Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Janiak, A. 2008. Newton as Philosopher. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jardine, N. C. 1984. The Birth of History and Philosophy of Science. Kepler’s ‘A Defence of Tycho against Ursus’, with Essays on Its Provenance and Significance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Koyré, A. 1988. Od sklenjenega sveta do neskončnega univerzuma. Ljubljana: ŠKUC/FF.
  • Koyré, A. 2006. Znanstvena revolucija. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • Libéra, A. de. 2007. Srednjeveška filozofija. Maribor: Aristej.
  • Lloyd, G. E. R. 2007. Grška znanost po Aristotelovem času. Ljubljana: Studia humanitatis.
  • Rossi, P. 2004. Rojstvo moderne znanosti v Evropi. Ljubljana: cf*.
  • Schuster, J. 2013. Descartes-Agonistes: Physico-mathematics, Method & Corpuscular-Mechanism 1618-33. Dordrecht: Springer.


Objectives and competences:

In the early modern period, human thought underwent a profound transformation that has radically changed the outlook of various artes and scientiae and the general view of human beings in the universe. This period of European history created the conceptual, methodological, and institutional foundations of modern science. The course reflects on selected topics from the time of the scientific revolution and methodological questions regarding the history of science. Scientific thought is presented in its intellectual and culturall context. The concept of scientific revolution is analysed and the debate over the continuity or discontinuity of early modern science and medieval science is discussed. The course participants learn about the problems that arose from assigning the label “science” to various medieval and early modern schools of thought or philosophies and become familiar with the hierarchical understanding of different sciences. Students learn about key changes in particular disciplines and come to understand how changes in these disciplines influenced each other. By analysing key texts, the students discover that the development of scientific thought is very closely connected with the development of »trans-scientific« thought, both metaphysical and theological.


Intended learning outcomes:

Students use the knowledge acquired in the course to write a piece of academic writing that can serve as a draft of a dissertation chapter or a research article.


Learning and teaching methods:

Types of learning/teaching:

  • Frontal teaching
  • Independent students work
  • e-learning


Teaching methods:

  • Explanation
  • Conversation/discussion/debate
  • Work with texts



  • 80 % Long written assignments
  • 20 % Final examination (written/oral)


Contemporary philosophy and modernist literature

Assist. Prof. Rok Benčin, Ph.D.,


Critical Aesthetics and Twentieth-Century Art

Prof. Aleš Erjavec, Ph. D. ,

Prof. Lev Kreft, Ph. D. ,


Formation of the Concepts

Assist. Prof. Aleš Bunta, Ph. D. ,

Assist. Prof. Tadej Troha, Ph. D. ,


German idealism and its consequences

Assoc. Prof. Frank Ruda, Ph. D. ,


Ideology and Philosophy

Assoc. Prof. Jan Völker, Ph. D. ,


Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

Prof. Jelica Šumič Riha, Ph. D.,


Philosophy and scientific revolution

Assoc. Prof. Matjaž Vesel, Ph.D.,


Psychoanalysis and the social bond

Prof. Alenka Zupančič, Ph.D.,

Assoc. Prof. Peter Klepec, Ph. D.,