Mathematician of the University of Pisa syndrome

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Mathematician of the University of Pisa syndrome occurs when a person considers certain proposition, for example a scientific theory, for being false or inappropriate only because being ignorant of it, and usually also vehemently refuses to get acquainted with its content. The name of the syndrome comes from experience of Galileo described in his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany in 1615:[1]

And Your Highness knows what happened to the late mathematician of the University of Pisa who undertook in his old age to look into the Copernican doctrine in the hope of` shaking its foundations and refuting it, since he considered it false only because he had never studied it.

Symptomatically, people who suffer from this syndrome tend to labor to persuade others that given proposition, which they typically anticipate to cause them feelings of discomfort due to their a priori personal biases against it, may be condemned even without being read.[1] In their reasoning, they routinely replace the disliked proposition with their distorted views on given subject, i.e. effectively with a strawman, in order to win the argument and get audience on their side. The syndrome directly leads to violation of Socratic principle which is fundamental to science.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Modern History Sourcebook: Galileo Galilei: Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany, 1615. Internet Modern History Sourcebook, © Paul Halsall, Fordham University (August 1997). Retrieved on August 20, 2013. “...Such are the people who labor to persuade us that an author like Copernicus may be condemned without being read...”