The aim of this article is to shed light on an understudied aspect of Giordano Bruno's intellectual biography, namely, his career as a mathematical practitioner. Early interpreters, especially, have criticized Bruno's mathematics for being “outdated” or too “concrete”. However, thanks to developments in the study of early modern mathematics and the rediscovery of Bruno's first mathematical writings (four dialogues on Fabrizio's Mordente proportional compass), we are in a position to better understand Bruno's mathematics. In particular, this article aims to reopen the question of whether Bruno anticipated the concept of infinitesimal quantity. It does so by providing an analysis of the dialogues on Mordente's compass and of the historical circumstances under which those dialogues were written.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Giordano Bruno, Fabrizio Mordente, History of mathematics, Mathematical practitioners, Proportional compass, Infinitesimals
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsa.2018.10.004, hdl.handle.net/1765/127007
Journal Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A
Citation
Rossini, P. (2019). New theories for new instruments. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 76. doi:10.1016/j.shpsa.2018.10.004