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articles
1. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Claudia Dumitru Francis Bacon and the Aristotelian Tradition on the Nature of Sound
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Centuries II and III of Francis Bacon’s posthumous natural history Sylva Sylvarum are largely dedicated to sound. This paper claims that Bacon’s investigation on this topic is fruitfully read against the background of the Aristotelian theory of sound, as presented in De anima commentaries. I argue that Bacon agreed with the general lines of this tradition in a crucial aspect: he rejected the reduction of sound to local motion. Many of the experimental instances and more theoretical remarks from his natural history of sound can be elucidated against this wider concern of distinguishing sound from motion, a theme that had been a staple of Aristotelian discussions of sound and hearing since the Middle Ages. Bacon admits that local motion is part of the efficient cause of sound, but he denies that it is its form, which means that sound cannot be reduced to a type of local motion. This position places him outside subsequent developments in natural philosophy in the seventeenth century.
2. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Doina-Cristina Rusu Spiders, Ants, and Bees: Francis Bacon and the Methodology of Natural Philosophy
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This paper argues that the methodology Francis Bacon used in his natural histories abides by the theoretical commitments presented in his methodological writings. On the one hand, Bacon advocated a middle way between idle speculation and mere gathering of facts. On the other hand, he took a strong stance against the theorisation based on very few facts. Using two of his sources whom Bacon takes to be the reflection of these two extremes—Giambattista della Porta as an instance of idle speculations, and Hugh Platt as an instance of gathering facts without extracting knowledge—I show how Bacon chose the middle way, which consists of gathering facts and gradually extracting theory out of them. In addition, it will become clear how Bacon used the expertise of contemporary practitioners to criticise fantastical theories and purge natural history of misconceived notions and false speculations.
3. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Daniel Garber Margaret Cavendish among the Baconians
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Margaret Cavendish is a very difficult thinker to place in context. Given her stern critique of the “experimental philosophy” in the Observations on the Experimental Philosophy, one might be tempted to place Cavendish among the opponents of Francis Bacon and his experimental thought. But, I argue, her rela­tion to Baconianism is much more subtle than that would suggest. I begin with an overview of Cavendish’s philosophical program, focusing mainly on her later natural philosophical thought in Philosophical and Physical Opinions (1663), Philosophical Letters (1664), Observations on the Experimental Philosophy (1666/68) and her Grounds of Natural Philosophy (1668). I then turn to Francis Bacon, and talk about how he understood his philosophical program in the 1620s, and how it had been transformed by later Baconians in the 1650s and 1660s. While Bacon held a vitalistic natural philosophy, what was most visible, particularly in Royal Society propaganda, was his experimentalism. But Margaret Cavendish’s natural philosophical program is, in a way, the exact contrary. While she was skeptical of Bacon’s experimentalism, she was an enthusiastic advocate for a vitalistic materialism that may well have been inspired, at least in part, by Bacon’s thought. Because of her opposition to the experimental philosophy, her contemporaries may not have seen her as a Baconian. But even so I think that she was a philosopher whom Bacon himself would have recognized as a kindred spirit.
4. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Michael Deckard Of the Beard of a Wild Oat: Hooke and Cavendish on the Senses of Plants
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In 1665–1666, both Margaret Cavendish and Robert Hooke wrote about the beard of a wild oat. After looking through the microscope at the wild oat, Hooke describes the nature of what he is seeing in terms of a “small black or brown bristle” and believes that the microscope can improve the human senses. Cavendish responds to him regarding the seeing of the texture of a wild oat through the microscope and critiques his mechanistic explanation. This paper takes up the controversy between Cavendish and Hooke regarding the wild oat as two forms of a broadly Baconian enterprise. Challenging Lisa Walters and Eve Keller, who suppose that Cavendish was against the “Baconian enterprise as a whole,” the argument in this paper is that Cavendish is opposed to Hooke’s defense of instruments as recovering Edenic glory in the Micrographia, but not to the Baconian enterprise as a whole.
5. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Silvia Manzo Francis Bacon's Quasi-Materialism and its Nineteenth-Century Reception (Joseph de Maistre and Karl Marx)
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This paper will address the nineteenth-century reception of Bacon as an exponent of materialism in Joseph de Maistre and Karl Marx. I will argue that Bacon’s philosophy is “quasi-materialist.” The materialist components of his philosophy were noticed by de Maistre and Marx, who, in addition, point­ed out a Baconian materialist heritage. Their construction of Bacon’s figure as the leader of a materialist lineage ascribed to his philosophy a revolutionary import that was contrary to Bacon’s actual leanings. This contrast shows how different the contexts were within which materialism was conceived and valued across the centuries, and how far philosophical and scientific discourses may be transformed by their receptions, to the point that in many cases they could hardly be embraced by the authors of these discourses.
review article
6. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Daian Bica Causal Powers in the Framework of the Early Modernity
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book reviews
7. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Dev Mahaffey Emma Wilby, Invoking the Akelarre: Voices of the Accused in the Basque Witch-Craze, 1609–1614
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8. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Matteo Fornasier Luca Addante, Tommaso Campanella, il filosofo immaginato, interpretato, falsato
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9. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 2
Guidelines for Authors
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articles
10. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Petr Pavlas Lex secundum quam disponuntur omnia: Trichotomic Trees in Jan AmosKomenský’s Pansophical Metaphysics and Metaphorics
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The goal of this article is to detail the opposition to “Ramean tree” dichotomic divisions which emerged in the age of swelling Antitrinitarianism, especially Socinianism. Scholars such as Bartholomaeus Keckermann, Jan Amos Komenský and Richard Baxter made a point of preferring the trichotomic to the dichotomic division of Petrus Ramus and the Ramist tradition. This paper tracks the origin of Komenský’s “universal triadism” as present in his book metaphorics and in his metaphysics. Komenský’s triadic book metaphorics (the notion of nature, human mind and Scripture as “the triple book of God”) has its source in late sixteenth-century Lutheran mysticism and theosophy, mediated perhaps by Heinrich Khunrath and, above all, by Johann Heinrich Alsted. Komenský’s metaphysics follows the same triadic pattern. What is more, Komenský illustrates both these domains by means of Ramist-like bracketed trees; regarding book metaphorics, clearly his sources are Khunrath and Alsted. Although inspirations from Lullus, Sabundus and Nicholas of Cusa are most probably involved, the crucial role has to be ascribed to the influence of Lutheran mysticism and Alsted’s “Lullo-Ramism.”
11. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Sergius Kodera Needles and Pins on the Scaffold: Francis Bacon and Giovan Battista della Porta on the Motions of the Human Soul and the Passions of the Lodestone
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This article discusses the powers of the lodestone for two authors, Francis Bacon and Giovan Battista della Porta, relating their observations on magnetism and human emotions to the field of learned natural magic. It investigates some of Bacon’s and Porta’s remarks on experimental work with lodestones and the ways in which both authors translated the inexplicable powers of lodestones and magnetized iron into a series of principles that also served as a structure and explanation of human emotions (and vice versa). I suggest that at work here is not merely an anthropomorphic projection at nature, but also (and conversely) an interest in and fascination with the naturalization and mechanization of human emotions. My contribution examines passages from Bacon’s Advancement of Learning, the Novum organum, the Sylva sylvarum and his Essays; from Della Porta’s Magia naturalis (second edition 1589) and his comedy Sorella (1604). First, the insight that Bacon’s and Della Porta’s perception of magnetic movements have a strong common bias: the identification with human emotions. Both authors postulate not merely a close analogy, but a mutual convertibility between the two phenomena and with animal spirits. Second, this syn-optic approach is no one-way-street merely creating a characteristic perception of the phenomenon of magnetism: it also conditions the modes in which the human mind and emotions are perceived. Third, emotions—in particular love and hatred—are in principle as predictable as the movements of attraction and repulsion exercised by iron and lodestone.
12. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Nicla Riverso Behind the Scenes: Paolo Sarpi, a Natural Philosopher Friar
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My article explores Paolo Sarpi’s achievements in natural philosophy in order to define his contribution to the intellectual milieu of his time. Sarpi’s role as a natural philosopher has been underestimated, due to the fact that his research has been unpublished and has largely perished: his works on natural philosophy and his scientific discoveries were recorded in his private papers and diaries, kept in the Servite monastery in Venice, which was entirely destroyed by fire in 1769. I explain how Sarpi, because of his conflicts and strained relations with the Church of Rome, did not want to publish on natural philosophy, and I demonstrate how he operated in “silence,” cooperating with other natural philosophers behind the scenes in order to make important discoveries. Bringing up what is left of Sarpi’s writings, I examine the Servite’s accomplishments in physics and magnetism, and compare them with those of Gilbert, Garzoni, and Galileo. Through a careful analysis on passages from Sarpi’s correspondence and Pensieri, by focusing on his achievements in magnetism, I show that his research on magnetic fields had a significant bearing on his study of terrestrial motion and I point out how his study helped him to take his place among those scholars who led Galileo to develop his theory on motion and gravity.
13. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Jo van Cauter Spinoza on Revealed Religion and the Uses of Fear
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This paper argues that fear constitutes an important part of Spinoza’s redefined version of revealed religion as presented in the Theological-Political Treatise. My claim is not only that obedience as conceived by Spinoza always entails fear, but that the biblical image of God as king or lawgiver requires fear to fulfill its function; and thus, by extension, that fear remains one of the very tissues that binds together the body politic. Although, throughout his corpus of work, Spinoza often associates fear with cognitive weakness and a destabilizing temperament, he also acknowledges its potential use for sustaining civic concord. My argument is both positive and negative: the state can foster support for itself by the proper utilization of religious fear, but if it neglects to do so, it undermines its stability and risks falling victim to the destructive effects of superstition.
review article
14. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Mihnea Dobre Strategies of Dissemination for Cartesian Cosmology: Philosophy, Theology and “Mosaic physics”
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15. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Daian Bica Thinking with Mechanisms: Mechanical Philosophy and Early Modern Science
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book reviews
16. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Georgiana D. Hedesan William R. Newman, Newton the Alchemist: Science, Enigma, and the Quest for Nature’s “Secret Fire”
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17. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Ioana Bujor Jetze Touber, Spinoza and Biblical Philology in the Dutch Republic, 1660–1710
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18. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Alexandru Liciu Angus Vine, Miscellaneous Order: Manuscript Culture and the Early Modern Organization of Knowledge
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19. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Guidelines for Authors
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articles
20. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Pietro Daniel Omodeo A Cosmos Without a Creator: Cesare Cremonini’s Interpretation of Aristotle’s Heaven
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In the years after the first circulation of Sidereus Nuncius, Galileo’s Padua anti-Copernican colleague, the staunch Aristotelian philosopher, Cesare Cremonini, published a book on ‘traditional’ cosmology, Disputatio de coelo in tres partes divisa (Venice, 1613) which puzzled the Roman authorities of the Inquisition and the Index much more than any works on celestial novelties and ‘neo-Pythagorean’ astronomy. Cremonini’s disputation on the heavens has the form of an over-intricate comment of Aristotle’s conceptions, in the typi­cally argumentative style of Scholasticism. Nonetheless, it immediately raised the concern of Cardinal Bellarmin, the Pope and other Inquisitors. At a close reading, Cremonini’s interpretation of Aristotle’s cosmos proved radically anti- Christian. It represented a radicalization of Pomponazzian Alexandrism. In fact, Cremonini did not only circulate Aristotelian principles used by Pom­ponazzi to argue for the soul’s mortality (first, no thought is possible without imagination and the latter faculty is dependent on the body; secondly, all that is generated will eventually perish). He also wiped away all transcendence from the Aristotelian cosmos. In fact, he marginalized the function of the motive Intelligences by explaining heavenly motions through the action of animal-like inseparable souls although he did not erase nor reduced all Intelligences to only one, in accordance with Alexander. Also, he put at the center of Aristotle’s cosmos the idea of its eternity, a thesis which he explicitly connected with the rejection of the idea of God the Creator. Cremonini assumed that the univer­sal efficiens, that is the efficient cause of all motion and change in the world, is nothing but the first heaven. As a result of this radically naturalist reading of Aristotle, he banned God from the cosmos, reduced Him to the final cause of the world, and deprived Him of any efficiency and will. This essay on less ex­plored sources of Renaissance astronomical debates considers the institutional, cultural and religious setting of Cremonini’s teaching and conceptions. It as­sesses the reasons for his troubles with the religious authorities, and the politi­cal support he was granted by the Serenissima Republic of Venice inspite of the scandalous opinions he circulated as a university professor. My reconstruction of his views is based on the Disputatio de coelo of 1613 and later works, which are directly connected with cosmo-theological polemics with the religious au­thorities: his Apologia dictorum Aristotelis de quinta coeli substantia (1616) and the unpublished book De coeli efficientia, two manuscript copies of which are preserved in the libraries of Padua and Venice.