The Drawing Board of Imagination: Federico Commandino and John Philoponus

Journal of the History of Ideas 76 (4):499-515 (2015)
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© by Journal of the History of Ideas. Federico Commandino can be considered the personification of the renaissance of mathematics in sixteenth-century Italy. Previous scholars have generally reduced the philosophy of mathematics developed by Commandino in the preface to his translation of Euclid’s Elements to a superficial synthesis of Neoplatonic and Aristotelian elements. Until now, no attention has been paid to Commandino’s use of the sixth-century commentary on Aristotle’s De Anima by John Philoponus. In his article I will argue that, in depicting imagination as a mental drawing board for geometrical figures, Commandino directly relies on Philoponus’s concept of mathematical imagination.



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