Maria Chiara Parisi

Maria Chiara Parisi

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I am a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Logic, Language and Computation, University of Amsterdam.

My project focuses on clarifying the emergence of the paradox about mathematics (mathematics is explanatory vs. mathematics is not explanatory) within the ancient debate on scientific explanation. The aim of the project is to find the stem and to assess the spread of the paradox over nine centuries (4th cent. BC - 5th cent. CE) by identifying actors, reconstructing the views and elucidating conceptual presuppositions.

I combine more traditional methods, like close reading or ‘slow science’, with computational techniques for text-mining purposes, e.g. information retrieval and topic modeling. In this way, I remain grounded in expert textual interpretation, while conducting a wide-scope study of a ‘big data’ corpus in Greek and Latin spanning 450 authors.

My supervisors are Arianna Betti and Marije Martijn.

My research interests are (computational) history of ideas, history of ancient philosophy, methodology in the history of philosophy, digital humanities and digital classics, history of axiomatics and philosophy of science, metaphysics, and mereology. I also work on projects involving (historical) corpus-building procedures and bibliographic metadata curation.


  • Master of Arts (MA),  Universiteit van Amsterdam
    2017 - 2019
    Philosophy (research)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA),  Sapienza Università di Roma
    2013 - 2016


  • Ph.D. Candidate,  ILLC, Universiteit van Amsterdam
    Sep 2021 - Ongoing
    Mathematics & Scientific Explanation in Antiquity: A ‘Slow Science’ and ‘Big Data’ Study
  • Research Assistant,  ILLC, Universiteit van Amsterdam
    Aug 2019 - Aug 2021
    NWO Vici project Ideas at Scale - Towards a Computational History of Ideas (e-Ideas)
  • Research Assistant,  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
    Feb - Apr 2021
    A case study in digital history of philosophy (CLUE+ project)
  • Research Assistant ,  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
    Oct - Dec 2020
    A Digital History of Ideas (CLUE+ project)



  1. Van den Berg, H., Oortwijn, Y., Parisi, M.C., Wang, S., and Betti, Historians and the ‘Great Unread’ A New Method for Objective Corpus Building in the History of Philosophy. Ongoing; submission planned for September 2021.

  2. Van den Berg, H., Parisi, M.C., Oortwijn, Y., and Betti, A., The Spread of the Mathematical Method in Eighteenth-Century Germany: A Quantitative Investigation. Ongoing; first draft available here; submission planned for September 2021.

  3. Bloem, J., Parisi, M.C., Reynaert, M., Oortwijn Y., and Betti, A. Distributional Semantics for Neo-Latin. In Proceedings of LT4HALA 2020 - 1st Workshop on Language Technologies for Historical and Ancient Languages (pp. 84–93), LREC 2020. Marseille: European Language Resources Association (ELRA). [OA]


  1. Parisi, M.C., and Oortwijn, Y., “Distributional Semantics for Neo-Latin”, Neo-Latin Studies and Digital Humanities, International Association for Neo-Latin Studies, online, April 15, 2021. (invited talk)

  2. Parisi, M.C., "Mathematics & Scientific Explanation in Antiquity: A Slow Science and Big Data Study", Workshop on Neoplatonism and the Sciences, March 12, 2021. (invited talk)

  3. Betti, A. and Parisi, M.C., “Computational History of Ideas”, Digital Classics Workshop, Oikos National Research School in Classical Studies, The Netherlands, online, March 1, 2020. (invited talk)

  4. “Computational History of Ideas: preliminaries and corpus-building” in the course “Data-driven History of Ideas”, MA course, Universiteit van Amsterdam, November 20, 2020. (invited guest lecture)

  5. “Computational History of Ideas: preliminaries and corpus-building” in the course “History of Ideas: Foundational Topics and Computational Applications”, Corso di Laurea Magistrale in Filosofia, Università di Torino, May 19, 2020. (invited guest lecture)

  6. Parisi, M.C., “Hylomorphism and The Principles of Extensionality”, Spring School on Wholes and Their Parts. Mereology and Its History, CUSO, ISFI, SNSF-Project The Metaphysics of Quantum Objects, April 30 - May 3, 2020. (contributed talk with abstract submission) (postponed due to COVID-19)

  7. “Aristotle’s Mereology” in the course “Logic and Philosophy”, MA course, Universiteit van Amsterdam, February 14, 2020. (invited guest lecture)

  8. Parisi, M.C., “Hylomorphism and The Principles of Extensionality”, Workshop Propositions, properties, sets, and other abstract objects, Amsterdam, February 7-8, 2020. (invited talk)

  9. Parisi, M.C., “The Problem of Material Constitution: identity and composition of ordinary objects”, Summer School on Aristotle's Metaphysics - Yesterday and Today, Università della Svizzera Italiana & Universität Luzern, September 6, 2018. (contributed talk with abstract submission)