Download e-book for iPad: Occult and Scientific Mentalities in the Renaissance by Brian Vickers

By Brian Vickers

ISBN-10: 0521258790

ISBN-13: 9780521258791

The essays during this quantity current a collective examine of 1 of the key difficulties within the contemporary heritage of technology: To what quantity did the occult 'sciences' (alchemy, astrology, numerology, and usual magic) give a contribution to the medical revolution of the past due Renaissance? those stories of significant scientists (Kepler, Bacon, Mersenne, and Newton) and of occultists (Dee, Fludd, and Cardano), complemented via analyses of up to date respectable and unofficial reports at Cambridge and Oxford and discussions of the language of technology, mix to indicate that hitherto the connection has been too crudely said as a move 'from magic to science'. in reality, separate mentalities will be traced, the occult and the clinical, each one having diversified assumptions, objectives, and methodologies. The members name into query a number of the obtained principles in this subject, exhibiting that the difficulty has been wrongly outlined and in accordance with insufficient historic proof. They define new methods of drawing close and figuring out a state of affairs during which notably assorted and, to trendy eyes, incompatible methods of describing fact endured side-by-side till the dying of the occult within the overdue 17th century. Their paintings, for this reason, units the entire factor in a brand new gentle.

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The essays during this quantity current a collective learn of 1 of the most important difficulties within the contemporary background of technology: To what quantity did the occult 'sciences' (alchemy, astrology, numerology, and common magic) give a contribution to the clinical revolution of the past due Renaissance? those stories of significant scientists (Kepler, Bacon, Mersenne, and Newton) and of occultists (Dee, Fludd, and Cardano), complemented via analyses of up to date reliable and unofficial reports at Cambridge and Oxford and discussions of the language of technology, mix to signify that hitherto the connection has been too crudely acknowledged as a flow 'from magic to science'.

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The "traditional thinker" sees "a unique and intimate link between words and things ," such that words are absolutely bound to reality, and to control or manipulate words is to have the same power over the thilll,ls they stand for (p. 156). Modern science has dismissed such ideas because they would imply that reality did not exist independently of language and that human whim could control the world (p. 157). This is precisely the force of Kepler's objections to numerology and to much of astrology, as projections of human categories onto the physiclIl world.

This can be broken by the witch' s self-declaration , for what she wants out of others is the ascription of power, and by this ascription she can get social recognition. In a curious act of collusion with her persecutors, the witch , through complicity, gains publicity . " As for the suffering event narrated, it involves some deviation from the patterns of the natural world, a structural inversion of normal health 01' prosperity for which no immediately visible reason exists. (Here witchcraft resembles the wider function of the occult sciences, which otTer an ulternative system of understanding the world.

Gordon discussed the linguistic structure of witch accusations , using English material from the late sixteenth century. The basic narrative contains a certain kind of speech act and records an event of suffering. Drawing on Jeanne Favret Saada, Les Mots, la mort, Les sorts: La sorcellerie dans le Bocage (Paris, 1977; English trans. Deadly Words [Cambridge, 1981]), Gordon stressed that the crucial act in witchcraft is located in the word and that the spoken word constitutes power. The witch accusations are direct recollections of observed utterances that parallel on the verbal plane the sense of abnormality, or breaking of expectations, found in the events themselves.

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Occult and Scientific Mentalities in the Renaissance by Brian Vickers


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