About us

The Institute for the History of Philosophy and Science in Modern Age (ISPF) belongs to the CNR Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and it is based in Naples and Milan. The Institute is committed to the study, dissemination and promotion of historical-philosophical and historical-scientific culture.

The institute’s research activities, based on a rigorous treatment of the philosophical and scientific text and carried out in collaboration with national and international cultural institutions and in synergy with university and school institutions, aim to stimulate and sustain interest in these forms of culture in the younger generations. At the core of its studies there is a constant focus and critical reflection on the sense of identity of humanistic knowledge and a methodologically grounded study of the forms that this knowledge is taking in the rapidly changing scenarios of contemporary society, affecting the very constitution of the image of man, of the cultural identity and of the intercultural interaction.

The ISPF came to its present form in 2002, as a result of the merging of three prestigious CNR research centres: the ‘Centro studi del pensiero filosofico del Cinquecento e del Seicento in relazione ai problemi della scienza’ in Milan (‘Centre for the Study of Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Philosophical Thought in Relation to the Problems of Science’, established in 1971), the ‘Centro di studi vichiani’ in Naples (‘Centre for Vico Studies’, 1984), the ‘Centro di studi sulla filosofia contemporanea’ in Genoa (‘Centre for the Study of Contemporary Philosophy’, 1969). The work characterising those three research groups was focused on editions of classical texts, whose highlight was a vast programme of critical editions, with a strong philological and at the same time historical-philosophical imprint. Today’s Institute continues this mission and is the undisputed point of reference – in Italy and throughout the world – for the editions of the opera omnia of Giambattista Vico, Antonio Vallisneri, Girolamo Cardano and, more recently, Carlo Cattaneo. In addition, the Institute is committed to making accessible its heritage of editions of texts and critical studies both through the forms of traditional publishing and by experimenting with the possibilities offered by electronic publishing and the web.

The specific skills of the ISPF are thus applied in the development of critical editions, as well as innovative research on the ecdotics of philosophical and scientific texts, accompanied by a critical reflection on the Digital Humanities. Driven by a lively interest in the demands of modernity, the original identity of the Institute has gradually been enriched by a variety of research lines, ranging from the specialist and documentary study of the history of the Mediterranean and the East in the modern and contemporary age to research on topics related to culture, philosophical-historical forms, politics and religions in Europe; from the reconstruction of a history of sciences, knowledge and techniques to the relationship between humanistic knowledge and the languages of the arts; as well as to taking part in the contemporary critical debate on humanities, with the foundation in 2012 of an Observatory on Humanities.
Moreover, the institute is intensively engaged in activities related to the Third Mission, with a constant organisation of international conferences, workshops and specialised seminars; a rich training offer made available to universities and doctoral schools; a programme dedicated to high school students; celebration programmes of national cultural events; dramatizations of philosophical and scientific materials; promotion and participation in festivals and exhibitions.