Ancient Science, Ancient Philosophy: the philosophical Foundation of Science in Antiquity, the research project coordinated by Lorenzo Perilli, director of the Research Centre “Forms of Knowledge in the Ancient World” and of Department of Literary, Philosophical and Art History Studies, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, wins a € 685,000 grant by the Italian Science Fund (Call for Proposals 2021).

A total of 1,912 proposals were submitted. Only 47 outstanding scientific proposals were selected at the end of a complex evaluation process involving 3 different stages: evaluation of the proposal in terms of curriculum and track records (the results curve), evaluation of the project as a whole, and interview.

The research, conducted in collaboration with the University of Rome Sapienza, the University of Roma Tre, the University of Florence and the University of Turin, aims to investigate how the status and method of science, since its origins, have been constantly influenced by philosophical reflection.

The study of the debate on science that has developed since the ancient world in the fields of mathematics, medicine, theology, astronomy, harmonic science and other disciplines can provide more precise criteria for defining what is “science” and distinguishing it from pseudo-sciences, bringing with it important implications for crucial issues today, in a so-called post-truth era. From Plato and Aristotle to Hellenistic and Roman-era thought, all the way to the Middle Ages and with spillovers to contemporary mathematical theories, the research will provide the first systematic framework based on a careful examination of all the most significant texts, collected and commented on in new editions, also made available and searchable in digital form according to the most advanced standards, which will ensure their accessibility over time.

“The approval of the project,” says Lorenzo Perilli, “represents the crowning achievement of ten years of intense interdisciplinary work by the Center for the Study of Forms of Knowledge in the Ancient World, and will allow the consolidation of the field of classical studies and ancient philosophy, which has always been an internationally recognized excellence in our University. We seek to know the past in order to understand the present and to build a more conscious future: with our project we will make available to scholars and society the tools to better interpret that fundamental phenomenon called science”.

The Fondo Italiano per la Scienza (FIS) wants to promote the development of fundamental research on the model of the ERC, the most prestigious program dedicated to basic research. The main goal is to promote the national research system and strengthen links between universities and research institutions. It targets emerging scientists as well as experienced scientists. Involves all areas of research in major fields: from engineering to life sciences.