Occult Scientific Mentalities

Front Cover
Brian Vickers
Cambridge University Press, 1984 - Science - 424 pages
The essays in this volume present a collective study of one of the major problems in the recent history of science: To what extent did the occult 'sciences' (alchemy, astrology, numerology, and natural magic) contribute to the scientific revolution of the late Renaissance? These studies of major scientists (Kepler, Bacon, Mersenne, and Newton) and of occultists (Dee, Fludd, and Cardano), complemented by analyses of contemporary official and unofficial studies at Cambridge and Oxford and discussions of the language of science, combine to suggest that hitherto the relationship has been too crudely stated as a movement 'from magic to science'. In fact, two separate mentalities can be traced, the occult and the scientific, each having different assumptions, goals, and methodologies. The contributors call into question many of the received ideas on this topic, showing that the issue has been wrongly defined and based on inadequate historical evidence. They outline new ways of approaching and understanding a situation in which two radically different and, to modern eyes, incompatible ways of describing reality persisted side-by-side until the demise of the occult in the late seventeenth century. Their work, accordingly, sets the whole issue in a new light.
 

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Contents

At the crossroads of magic and science John Dees Archemastrie
57
The occult tradition in the English universities of the Renaissance a reassessment
73
Analogy versus identity the rejection of occult symbolism 15801680
95
Matin Mersenne Renaissance naturalism and Renaissance magic
165
Nature art and psyche Jung Pauli and the KeplerFludd polemic
177
The interpretation of natural signs Cardanos De subtilitate versus Scaligers Exercitationes
231
Keplers attitude toward astrology and mysticism
253
Keplers rejection of numerology
273
Francis Bacons biological ideas a new manuscript source
297
Newton and alchemy
315
Witchcraft and popular mentality in Lorraine 15801630
337
The scientific status of demonology
351
Reason right reason and revelation in midseventeenthcentury England
375
Index
403
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Page 11 - A man so various, that he seem'd to be Not one, but all mankind's epitome...
Page 35 - In this web of belief every strand depends upon every other strand, and a Zande cannot get out of its meshes because this is the only world he knows. The web is not an external structure in which he is enclosed. It is the texture of his thought and he cannot think that his thought is wrong.

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