About Project

Synopsis of the project proposal
We hereby submit to the HRZZ the project "Croatian philosophy and science in the European context between the 12th and 20th century" for financial support. Due to the integrative nature of the modern world, the primary issue for each member of the European and global community is the preservation of its identity, which implies cherishing national culture and the inherent philosophical and scientific tradition. Croatia’s accession to the EU has imposed an even stronger need for preservation. Research into Croatian philosophy and science started at the turn of the 20th century, but to re-examine her national identity each generation inevitably has to revert to tradition, which is why studies of the works of Croatian philosophers and scientists should be our permanent mission. Continuing the work of previous researchers, our desire is to analyse the still unexplored aspects of Croatian philosophy and science in order to gain better insight into their contribution to European philosophy and science. That is why this project plans to tackle the following topics: "Reception of Plato’s philosophy in the works of Croatian philosophers between the 12th and 16th century"; "The development and shifts in Aristotelianism during the 16th and 17th century"; "The philosophy of Juraj Dragišić"; "Croatian aesthetics and poetics in the European context between the 16th and 18th century"; "The relationship between natural philosophy and alchemy in the works of Croatian authors Andrija Dudić, Pavle Skalić, and Frane Petrić"; "The alchemy in Croatia from 14th to 18th century"; "The history of Croatian chemistry during the development of natural sciences in the 19th and 20th century"; "A review of the history of Croatian philosophy in the 19th and 20th century".
Platonism and Aristotelianism represent the backbone of European philosophical tradition, which is evident in the works of most Croatian philosophers. Within studies on the topic "Reception of Plato’s philosophy in the works of Croatian philosophers between the 12th and 16th century", we will analyse the works of some of the most important Croatian philosophers of the time with particular focus on the way in which they were influenced by Plato. Our studies will encompass an analysis of the impact of Plato’s works on the basic philosophical postulates of Hermann of Dalmatia, especially on his most distinguished work De essentiis. This primarily implies the influence of Plato’s Timaeus, one of the most  influential works in the history of philosophy, on the formation of Hermann’s cosmology. Although some aspects of the works of the Istria-born Hermann of Dalmatia, the oldest known Croatian philosopher (12th century), have been studied, they have never been studied from the perspective of Plato’s influence. This will be the main target of this segment of the project. References to Timaeus of Plato are also present in the writings of Frane Petrić, the most significant Croatian Renaissance philosopher, which is why this project also intends to study Petrić’s interpretations of this work, primarily through his Discussiones peripateticae. In this work, Petrić, a keen follower of Plato’s philosophy, elaborates his critique of Aristotle’s agreement (Vol. II) and disagreement (Vol. III) with the opinions of his predecessors, mainly with regard to natural philosophy. In doing so, Petrić frequently invokes Plato’s Timaeus and places it in opposition to Aristotle.
This project also plans to tackle the issue of the relationship between Renaissance (Neo)Platonism and modern science. Much has been written on the role of Renaissance Platonism in the formation of modern natural sciences in Europe, but a critical analysis of the works of the most significant Croatian Renaissance philosophers (Juraj Dragišić, Federik Grisogono, Frane Petrić, Pavle Skalić, Giulio Camillo Delminio) that would question the true contribution of this direction to the birth of modern science is yet to be performed. The starting point for this segment of the project will be Dr Banić-Pajnić’s research thus far within the project "The fundamental problems of Renaissance Neo-Platonism and Croatian Renaissance philosophers".
Regardless of the fact that Renaissance philosophy was primarily marked by a revival of interest in Platonism, the thus far performed research on the works of Croatian philosophers has demonstrated that, until the 17th century, they were mainly influenced by Aristotelianism. The topic "The development and shifts in Aristotelianism during the 16th and 17th century" investigates Renaissance Aristotelianism, characteristic for a dichotomy between philosophers who fervently adhered to Aristotelianism and those who built their own positions on criticising it, among whom was Frane Petrić. This topic will seek to establish the transformations of the fundamental peripatetic notions and issues that failed to provide adequate answers to the philosophical questions of the time. We plan to comprehend why these changes in notions and attitudes occurred and at what they were directed (subjectively and objectively). Research will encompass works from Croatian philosophers of the period (Antun Medo, Frane Petrić, Nikola Vitov Gučetić, Juraj Dubrovčanin, Matija Frkić) in the context of Italian Aristotelianism (e.g., Piccolomini, Mazzoni, Cremonini). This will also include Petrić’s critique of Aristotelianism (Discussiones peripateticae), because it represents a vital starting point for identifying the transformations in peripateticism that followed. One of the Institute of Philosophy’s previous projects, "Grisogono and Petrić – two worlds of Renaissance philosophy" Mihaele Girardi-Karšulin, and its ultimate results represent the foundation for the application and successful implementation of this project segment. The uniqueness of this segment of the project lies in the fact that it builds on Petrić’s objections to Aristotelianism as relevant indicators of the need for change as well as in the fact that the changes in notions and attitudes of Aristotelianism are viewed in relation to the subsequent development of modern philosophy, which often shuns Aristotelianism. Its rareness is also in that research is planned to be conducted primarily on Croatian Renaissance authors; not only for the purpose of documenting Croatian philosophical heritage, but also to place these Croatian authors in a relevant context and demonstrate their importance for the philosophy of the time. However, Aristotelianism and Platonism are not strictly separate directions in the primarily syncretistic Renaissance philosophy. This is evident in the works of most Croatian Renaissance philosophers, including Juraj Dragišić.
Within the topic "The philosophy of Juraj Dragišić", we plan to investigate and reconstruct the philosophy of nature of the Croatian philosopher Juraj Dragišić. We will attempt to precisely ascertain what extent of his theory was original and to what extent was it the result of interpretations of other philosophers. We will investigate the influence of Aristotle’s works on Dragišić’s theory as well as that of Aristotle’s medieval interpreters. We will also seek to define Dragišić’s logics and establish the extent to which he relied on Aristotle, his interpreter St. Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus. We will also analyse in detail the reception of Dragišić’s works and postulates in each individual century, ranging from the 16th to the 21st. The obtained analysis will determine Juraj Dragišić’s influence on certain theories in this period. Each of the studied topics will be accompanied by an article to be published either in Croatian or international sources. For the very end of the project, we plan to introduce a digital library on the perception of Juraj Dragišić in Europe between the 16th and 21st century with all accompanying materials (links, photographs, analyses, etc.). The entire project segment will attempt to shed much more light on the thus far insufficiently studied philosophy of Juraj Dragišić.
Aesthetics and poetics are important aspects of Renaissance philosophy. Therefore, this project will include studies on "Croatian aesthetics and poetics in the European context between the 16th and 18th century". This segment is based on a comparative analysis of Croatian and Italian art theoreticians from the 16th, 17th, and 18th century. The centre of attention will primarily be given to topics of beauty and love as well as the very process of poetic creation as seen and interpreted by Frane Petrić, Annibale Romei, Fran Krsto Frankopan, Emanuele Tesauro, and Giambattista Vico.
Within this topic, we also plan to study Baroque notions of beauty through the poetic legacy of Fran Krsto Frankopan. The Baroque concept of beauty and love will be analysed in opposition to the Neo-Platonic Renaissance concept of beauty and love. For this purpose, we plan to analyse Frankopan’s poems on love and piety. This segment also encompasses research into the poetics of Frane Petrić, focused mainly on determining the place and significance of Petrić’s poetics within the framework of Italian Late Renaissance art theory. Several examples of art theory from late 16th and early  17th century in Italy will serve to demonstrate and question: 1) where exactly are the  correspondence of Petrić’s concepts with those of Late Renaissance art theoreticians (Tasso, Mazzoni, Pellegrino, Comanini, Lomazzo, Zuccaro) and 2) which parts of his theories within the frame of Late Renaissance art theory can be deemed original. Ultimately, our intention is to demonstrate that Petrić had an immense contribution to all of the stated problems in art theory from the late 16th and early 17th century and that he not only proved to be a worthy participant in Late Renaissance philosophy, but also that many of his concepts exhibited true originality. Our studies will also work to elucidate the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious in poetic activity in Frane Petrić’s poetic theory.
Renaissance philosophy is strongly defined by the intertwining of various philosophical traditions, as well as by the fact that one of its main components is natural philosophy, which at the end of the Renaissance period slowly began to separate itself from philosophy and cross over to natural sciences. This will be studied through "The relationship between natural philosophy and alchemy in the works of Croatian authors Andrija Dudić, Pavle Skalić, and Frane Petrić". Within this segment, we plan to study writings by Croatian Renaissance authors, with particular focus on their alchemy and iatrochemistry. Following analysis, interpretation, and valorisation, we should obtain a well-rounded idea about the contribution of Croatian authors to the development of natural sciences in the Renaissance.
We will analyse a part of the personal correspondence (approx. 2000 letters) of the Renaissance natural philosopher and humanist Andrija Dudić (1533-1589), valorising his alchemy and iatrochemistry in a European context. Furthermore, we will investigate and interpret the alchemy and iatrochemistry from the encyclopaedic work Epistemon (1559), written by the Croatian Renaissance natural philosopher and polyhistor Pavle Skalić, as well as analyse the relationship between natural philosophy and the incorporated chemistry issues in Frane Petrić’s Nova de universis philosophia (1591) and all four volumes of Discussiones peripateticae.
The process of separating natural sciences from philosophy, which has lasted from the end of Renaissance to the 18th century, will also be covered within the topic "The alchemy in Croatia from 14th to 18th". Croatian alchemy is studied in the period between the Middle Ages and the end of the 17th century. One of the foundations for this topic is work on a previous project of the Ministry of Science, Education and Science entitled "The relationship between natural philosophy and alchemy in Renaissance in Croatia". The results of this project have been published in journals Prilozi za istraživanje hrvatske filozofske baštine, Acta medico-historica Adriatica (AMHA), Poligrafi (Ljubljana, SLO), Jahrbuch, and others. This segment will build on the results of the said project.
This project segment also intends to valorise the alchemy of Daniel of Istria in his work De lapide Physico and Petar Bono in the work Pretiosa margarita novella, written in the first half of the 14th century. Research thus far has concluded that the concepts of these two Croatian authors had a direct influence on the development of European alchemy, not the other way around. This certainly necessitates more thorough studies into their general reception in Europe. The first work is located at the City of Pula Scientific Library, while the other can be found in Metropolitana, the library of the Zagreb Roman Catholic Archdiocese. Both have already been published in a European collection of alchemy texts (Aldus, Venice, 1546).
We will investigate the art and science of the alchemy of the Duvno-born Giulio Camillo Delminio (1479-1544) in his manuscript on the transmutation of metals, already commissioned from the Girolamani Library in Naples (Cod. S.M. XXVIII). This manuscript will be studied and valorised in comparison to the alchemy of European Renaissance natural philosophers. Within the same year, we will study the texts of European authors on the alchemy of Barbara of Cilli (1381-1451), who performed metal transmutations in the basement of her castle in Samobor. This was the main topic of her contemporary Johann von Laaz’s work Via Universalis, who even stayed at her castle on one occasion, and later of Basilius Valentinus in the seventh edition of his foreword to Chymische Schriften (1646).
We will also study the attitudes on alchemy of the Croatian Renaissance philosopher and medical doctor Federik Grisogono (1472-1538), laid out in his work De modo collegiandi, pronosticandi et curandi febres… (1528). After thorough interpretation, his attitudes will be compared against the alchemy of other Renaissance natural philosophers; specifically, those who approved or disapproved of alchemy in general. Within the same year, we plan to analyse a manuscript by an anonymous author on preparing a wiseman’s stone, kept at the Zagreb Metropolitana.
This project will also study the temporal sequence of the fading and abandonment of alchemy in Croatia. For this purpose, we will examine the work of the Pula-born professor Ivan Bratti Discorso della Vecchia et Nuova medicina (1590) about medical treatment with natural and artificial gold. It is well-known that, after the death of Paracelsus (1541), many European natural scientists, doctors, and natural philosophers joined to form the powerful Paracelsian movement, in which we distinguish between the first and second generation of Paracelsians. Studies have proven that the second generation also includes the Varaždin-born physician and natural philosopher Ivan Leopold Payer (born approx. 1660), who adopted new attitudes towards water as the source of life, not the wiseman’s stone, and initiated the first chemical analyses on therapeutic waters in Croatia. That is why we will also analyse and valorise Payer’s work Fundamentum naturae medicatricis adaequatum (1710) within a European context.
Research into one specific area of modern science will take place within the topic "The history of Croatian chemistry during the development of natural sciences in the 19th and 20th century". The thus far published works that have given an overview of the development of chemistry in the 20th century through important events and persons (separately and in the series published in the journal Kemija u industriji-povijest) have shown that we must delve much deeper into the scientific ideas and methods of 19th-century chemistry in Croatia. Therefore, we plan to study the penetration and reception of natural sciences in Croatia, especially after the foundation of the Croatian Society of Natural Sciences (1885), and the opposition they encountered from Croatian theologians. We will do away with the notion of natural sciences as the source of atheism and compare the beginnings of experimental research in Croatia with those in Europe, particularly following the introduction of Justus von Liebig’s experimental foundations in natural sciences. It is in this sense that we will attempt to valorise the works of Pavle Žulić, who even belonged to Liebig’s genealogical tree. This project segment will also go through Croatian natural sciences terminology and the first texts on natural sciences published in Croatia (J. Partaš, S. Brusina, P. Žulić, etc.) as well as the reception and presence of modern European concepts in these texts up to the foundation of the first natural sciences department within the University of Zagreb (1876). We will demonstrate why some of the most important scientific discoveries in Croatia occurred at the turn of the 20th century (A. Mohorovičić, S. Penkala, D. Swarz, F. Kovačević, etc.). We will investigate the development of chemistry and natural sciences during and after the period of the quisling Independent State of Croatia, which is currently completely unknown. Modern methods will be used to compare the scientific production in Croatia during these three periods. We will valorise the significance and importance of the education that Croatian scientists received abroad and the transfer and reception of their findings into Croatia. We will demonstrate that, through adopting modern ideas and methods from European centres, Croatia’s scientific community very quickly reached the level of its leading European counterparts, especially after the foundation of the Ruđer Bošković Institute (1960). In this sense, we will attempt to reveal why exactly as many as two Croatian Nobel Prize winners worked in the field of chemistry.
Within the topic "A review of the history of Croatian philosophy in the 19th and 20th century", we will investigate and elucidate in a European context all of the main philosophical directions, authors, and works created by Croatian philosophers and scientists from the 19th and 20th century. We will devote the largest amount of attention to the influence of philosophical educational institutions and individual philosophical directions and authors on the growth and development of sciences and formation of specific scientific disciplines. Our starting point for research will be the hypothesis that Croatian philosophy and science clearly exhibit and confirm the presence of the fundamental directions of European philosophy and science during the period in question. Our historical overview will begin with the penetration and reception of notions from the Age of Enlightenment (the start of the 19th century) and end with discussions on globalisation and current philosophical and fundamental scientific issues from the end of the 20th century. Starting with the beginning of the 19th century, we will investigate the modernisation of methods for scientific thought, the formation of new attitudes and perspectives in the relationship between philosophy and science, and the birth of philosophy in the Croatian language. We will shed light on the reception of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy and the attempt to merge critical thought with Scholasticism. Furthermore, we will seek to study the development of philosophy of law and politics, followed by examining the formation of practical philosophy at universities and the philosophical foundations of Croatian law and the multi-faceted politics of right (as in the Croatian Party of Rights). Some of the most important research topics within this segment will be the appearance of Neo-Scholasticism at the turn of the 20th century and the academic philosophy grounded in Herbartian formalism. Within the overview of the development of Croatian philosophy during the 20th century, we will first deal with academic philosophy and directions in Neo-Scholastic thought. Then, we intend to study the development of Neo-Marxism, philosophy of existence, personalism, practical philosophy, analytical philosophy, philosophy of science, and the philosophy of language. Accounts on more distinguished authors will be accompanied by their most important concepts and works. Finally, we plan to compose a select bibliography of original and secondary literature relevant to this period.
The aim of this project is an anthology that would present the results of four years of research and serve as the basis for creating a comprehensive overview of the entire history of Croatian philosophy and science.

Project duration
From 1 June 2014 to 31 May 2018

Principal investigator
dr. sc. Erna Banić-Pajnić
Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb
Ulica grada Vukovara 54, 10000
Tel. +385 1 6111 532, +385 1 6111 984
Fax. +385 1 6150 338
Role: Research on the topic "Reception of Plato’s philosophy in the works of Croatian philosophers between the 12th and 16th century"

Team members
dr. sc. Pavo Barišić
Institute of Philosophy in Zagreb

Topic: "A review of the history of Croatian philosophy in the 19th and 20th century''

dr. sc. Bruno Ćurko
Institute of Philosophy in Zagreb

Postdoctoral student
Bruno Ćurko will work on the topic "The philosophy of Juraj Dragišić"

dr. sc. Mihaela Girardi-Karšulin
Institute of Philosophy in Zagreb

She will work on the topic "The development and shifts in Aristotelism in the 16th and 17th century''

dr. sc. Željka Metesi Deronjić
Institute of Philosophy in Zagreb

Postdoctoral student
Her topic: Croatian aesthetics and poetics in the European context between the 16th and 18th century

prof. dr. sc. Snježana Paušek-Baždar
Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts

She will work on the topic "The alchemy in Croatia from 14th to 18th century"

prof. dr. sc. Nenad Trinajstić
Fellow of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Topic: The history of Croatian chemistry during the development of natural sciences in the 19th and 20th c.

mag. (dipl.) Vanja Flegar
Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Doctoral student
Topic: "The relationship between natural philosophy and alchemy in Dudic, Skalic and Petric"