Mr Konstantinos Chatzigeorgiou
I hold an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge, an MA (Hons) in Philosophy and a BEng in Mechanical Engineering. In October 2020, I will commence my PhD in Philosophy. My supervisors are Dr Stephan Leuenberger (University of Glasgow, Department of Philosophy) and Professor Thomas Ahnert (University of Edinburgh, School of History, Classics and Archaeology).
My research focuses on the historiography of Galileo Galilei, the so-called father of modern science. Specifically, I examine the philosophical background of major interpretations of Galileo in the 20th century, a period where the ‘historical’ Galileo was subjected for the first time to intense scholarly debate. During the previous century, the technical details of Galileo's work, his adopted method, his influences, his feud with the Catholic church, even his intellectual legacy, all were thoroughly examined by meticulous and highly original scholars. What is genuinely surprising is that contradictory views emerged. Some historians viewed Galileo as an abstract philosopher/mathematician whose ‘physics’ is not empirical at all. Other scholars painted a more earthly and familiar picture, emphasising Galileo’s pioneering experimental work. Finally, a third group of scholars approached Galileo as a product of his historical context, namely a 16th/17th century (somewhat radical) Aristotelian.
Instead of asking which of the proposed ‘Galileos’ is the actual one, I raise a different question: why do historians write so differently about the same person? My suspicion is that historians disagree not (solely) because of a dispute over the historical ‘facts’, but because they themselves hold distinct philosophical views. Hence, historians shape an image of Galileo that suits their own (philosophical) presumptions and broader ideals. Galileo’s case is emblematic of wider concerns: did modern ‘science’ really begin with Galileo? What do we mean by ‘science’ anyway? Can 'science' really be distinguished from other aspects of human culture? What is the role of religion in our modern scientific world? Should we really privilege physics over other domains of inquiry? What are the consequences of this type of privileging? Does it not ultimately lead to the degrading of the human subject? Lastly, does science genuinely describe an objective, mind-independent world? Or is it all just a big sham? If I am correct, the work of historians of science not only uncovers the past, but also reveals important facets of the present. Our present (philosophical) anxieties may not always appear obvious in each historian’s work, but they are there.
My research can be briefly described as a species of 'reflective intellectual history’. In more technical (and, perhaps, accurate) terms, my work integrates Galileo’s work in mechanics and astronomy, a series of 20th century philosophical traditions/problems and certain insights from historiography — the study of the methods and aims of historical practice.
From 2018 onwards, I have tutored in the following subjects:
- Philosophy 1A, How should I think?
- Philosophy 1B, How should I live?
- Philosophy 2A, What am I?
- Philosophy 2B, What is there?
- Advanced Statistics, Glasgow International College
- Advanced Social Science, Glasgow International College
- History, Philosophy & Culture, Glasgow International College
Professional activities & recognition
Prizes, awards & distinctions
- 2020: Doctoral Training Partnership Scholarship (SGSAH AHRC)
- 2020: Maintenance Award (University of Glasgow, College of Arts)
- 2017: George and Marie Vergottis Scholarship (University of Cambridge, Cambridge Trust)
- 2017: Maintenance Award (University of Cambridge, Cambridge HPS Trust)
- 2017: College Award (University of Cambridge, Clare Hall)
- 2014-2017: Second-First Degree Bursary (University of Glasgow, College of Arts)
Selected international presentations
- 2019: Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience Research Seminars, A Reappraisal of Smart's Materialist Metaphysics (University of Glasgow)
- 2019: Annual Conference of the British Society for the History of Philosophy, How the Mind-World Problem Shaped the History of Science (King's College London)
- 2018: Integrated History and Philosophy of Science Workshop, Koyré and Drake on the Cognitive Significance of Galileo's Metaphysics (University College London)
- 2017: Aims and Methods of Histories of Science, Metaphysics, Science and History in E. A. Burtt and R. G. Collingwood (University of Cambridge)