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Experiment and Natural Philosophy in Seventeenth-Century Tuscany


Experiment and Natural Philosophy in Seventeenth-Century Tuscany

The History of the Accademia del Cimento
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Band 21

von: Luciano Boschiero

226,09 €

Verlag: Springer
Format: PDF
Veröffentl.: 04.09.2007
ISBN/EAN: 9781402062469
Sprache: englisch
Anzahl Seiten: 252

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Beschreibungen

This work counters historiographies that search for the origins of modern science within the experimental practices of Europe’s first scientific institutions, such as the Cimento. It proposes that we should look beyond the experimental rhetoric found in published works, to find that the Cimento academicians were participants in a culture of natural philosophical theorising that existed throughout Europe.
The aim of this book is to explore and understand the activities undertaken by the Florentine Accademia del Cimento, one of Europe’s first scientific societies. The Cimento operated for ten years, between 1657 and 1667, and during that time performed many experiments and observations in physics and astronomy, rivalling the achievements of the Royal Society of London and the Parisian Acadèmie Royale des Sciences. This book will attempt to sift through the ava- able primary evidence, as well as secondary accounts of the Cimento’s activities, in order to examine the intellectual concerns that the individual academicians acquired throughout their careers and that they pursued while carrying out and interpreting their experiments for the Cimento and the Tuscan Court. Those interests will also shed some light on the ways in which the academicians performed and used experiments. Inspired by Galileo’s success with experiments and instruments during the first half of the seventeenth century, the Cimento academicians developed an experimentalist approach to their natural inquiry that attempted to eliminate any dependence on theoretical presuppositions and preconceptions. The group’s p- ported aim was to rely solely on the senses to accumulate knowledge of nature. This experimental philosophy framed the way in which historians have since viewed the Cimento’s practices.
Galileo And Beyond.- 350 Years of coming to grips with the experimental activities of Galileo and his followers.- Vincenzio Viviani (1622–1703): Galileo's last disciple.- Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608–1679).- What it meant to be a Cimento academician.- The Accademia Del Cimento: 1657–1662.- Experiments concerning air pressure and the void and a look at the Accademia's internal workings.- The artificial freezing process of liquids, and the properties and effects of heat and cold.- The Accademia Del Cimento: 1662–1667.- The Cimento's publication process and presentational techniques: formulating a policy of self-censorship.- The Saturn problem and the path of comets: an analysis of the academicians' theoretical and observational Astronomy.
The Accademia del Cimento (1657-1667) was the first institution in Europe purporting to use an experimental method in its scientific inquiries. According to some recent accounts, the Cimento belonged to a new culture of knowledge making that abandoned the practice of constructing theories in favour of a programme that simply accumulated ‘matters of fact’, free from theoretical arguments and speculations.

However, while the Cimento, led by Tuscany’s Prince Leopoldo de’Medici, created a persuasive experimental rhetoric, in actuality the academicians continued to construct experiments and interpret their results on the basis of their theoretical aims and their broader interests in natural philosophy.

This analysis begins by examining the use of experiments, mathematics, and natural philosophy in seventeenth-century Italy. Once these topics are clearly defined, it becomes easier to understand the intellectual interests and motivations of each of the Cimento’s members. Case studies regarding the Cimento’s work on air-pressure, the vacuum, the freezing process, and the properties and effects of heat and cold, reveal the group’s natural philosophical skills, commitments, and agendas. Meanwhile, in an attempt to avoid religious pressure and to maintain an uncontroversial reputation for the academy, Leopoldo censored the academicians from publicly expressing their views on a number of issues.

The purpose of this work is to counter historiographies that search for the origins of modern science within the experimental practices of Europe’s first scientific institutions, such as the Cimento. It proposes that we should look beyond the experimental rhetoric found in published works, to find that the Cimento academicians were participants in a culture of natural philosophical theorising that existed throughout Europe.
Broadly relevant to studies of Scientific Revolution, not just the Accademia del Cimento
Provides fresh insight into early modern scientific academies, especially in Italy
Clear and straightforward style of writing, avoiding convoluted prose common in such works
Challenges dominant historiographies of post-Galilean Italian science
Introduces Anglophones largely unfamiliar with Continental science history, to Italian studies

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