Distilling Knowledge: Alchemy, Chemistry, and the Scientific by Bruce T. Moran PDF

By Bruce T. Moran

ISBN-10: 0674014952

ISBN-13: 9780674014954

ISBN-10: 0674022491

ISBN-13: 9780674022492

Alchemy cannot be science--common feel tells us as a lot. yet might be good judgment isn't the most sensible degree of what technological know-how is, or used to be. during this booklet, Bruce Moran seems to be previous modern assumptions and prejudices to figure out what alchemists have been really doing within the context of early smooth technological know-how. reading the methods alchemy and chemistry have been studied and practiced among 1400 and 1700, he exhibits how those techniques inspired their respective practitioners' principles approximately nature and formed their inquiries into the workings of the wildlife. His paintings units up a discussion among what historians have frequently offered as separate spheres; the following we see how alchemists and early chemists exchanged rules and strategies and actually shared a territory among their disciplines. Distilling wisdom means that medical revolution may well put on a special visual appeal in numerous cultural contexts. The metaphor of the clinical Revolution, Moran argues, could be increased to make experience of alchemy and different so-called pseudo-sciences--by together with a brand new framework within which "process can count number as an item, within which making results in studying, and within which the messiness of clash results in discernment." visible by itself phrases, alchemy can stand in the bounds of demonstrative technological know-how.

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Extra info for Distilling Knowledge: Alchemy, Chemistry, and the Scientific Revolution (New Histories of Science, Technology, and Medicine)

Example text

But there were other, more accessible, medicines that could be made too; and in their preparation, mathematics, experimental science, medicine, and alchemy joined forces to compound medicaments according to particular proportions. It is to Bacon’s book of medicinal antidotes that one looks to find his rules for preparing drugs according to ratios by weight. Medicines thus concocted, he thought, could help people look better and live longer; and besides ancient pharmaceuticals like balsam, theriac, and benedicta (the precise definitions of which he seems to have constantly fretted over), Bacon advised the use of other healing regimes such as song, the sight of human beauty, and, what must have seemed the most pleasant restorative to a Franciscan friar, the touch of girls (Getz, 1991: 144).

It was printed at Basel by the publishing house of Froben, the publisher of the works of the famous Reformation satirist Erasmus and of many other literary notables. On the one hand, its aim was to clarify the technical details and to describe the machinery of mining. It also taught the specific techniques and described the ways that instruments were to be used in assaying ores and in refining metals; and it did all this in a beautiful Latin text of which there would be at least four editions before 1657.

Biringuccio considered that it was the loss and further isolation of a body’s airy parts that accounted for the same phenomenon. Thus a calcined body retained more of its ponderosity “in the same way that the body of a dead animal does, which actually weighs much more than when alive. For, as is evident, the spirits that sustain life are released and, since it is not possible to understand how these can be anything but substances with the qualities of air, the body remains without the aid of that which made it lighter by lifting it up toward the sky, and the heaviest part of the element has its natural force increased and is drawn toward the center” (p.

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Distilling Knowledge: Alchemy, Chemistry, and the Scientific Revolution (New Histories of Science, Technology, and Medicine) by Bruce T. Moran


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