Thesis ID: CBB001560583

New Wine in Old Wineskins: Traditional Beliefs About the Heart and Blood Among the Oxford Group, 1650--1680 (2001)


Kidd, Randy Ryan (Author)

Yale University
Holmes, Frederic Lawrence

Publication Date: 2001
Edition Details: Advisor: Holmes, Frederic Lawrence
Physical Details: 223 pp.
Language: English

Over a century of scholarship has focused on the Oxford natural philosophers who carried forward the implications of William Harvey's {italic}De motu cordis {/italic} (1628). This scholarship has yielded crucial scientific information and a wealth of primary sources. Much of the scholarship, however, suggests that the Oxonians engaged in a {italic}confrontation{/italic} between old and new. Traditions relating vital heat, spirit, passions and the rational soul to the human heart appear to have been forced aside by these advocates of the new experimental philosophy. This dissertation views the work at Oxford as an {italic}encounter{/italic} rather than a {italic}conflict{/italic}. The goal of the Oxford Group was to {italic}reconcile{/italic} biblical and classical beliefs about the heart with the mechanical worldview, experimental philosophy and Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood. The Introduction presents three problems inherent in analysis of the Oxford Group. First, the symbolic position the heart has held for over two millennia makes it difficult for historians to determine how to interpret some passages in the Oxford corpus. Second, it is often assumed that the mechanical philosophy eliminated unseen faculties from the heart. Finally, underestimation of the importance of tradition during the Scientific Revolution has led to selected reading of the Oxford corpus. Chapters One and Two consider ancient and medieval notions of the heart, respectively. Chapter Three argues that the ‘Harvey-Descartes Controversy’ has been overstated and analyzes traditional assumptions the two held in common. Chapter Four presents the work of the Oxford Group as a successful {italic}integration{/italic} and between old and new ideas about the heart and blood.


Description “The goal of the Oxford Group was to reconcile biblical and classical beliefs about the heart with the mechanical worldview, experimental philosophy and Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood.” (from the abstract) Cited in Diss. Abstr. Int. A 62 (2002): 3542. UMI order no. 3030788.

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Authors & Contributors
Grene, Marjorie Glicksman
Boyle, Marjorie O'Rourke
Ekholm, Karin Jori
Attie, Katherine Bootle
Fuchs, Thomas
Albarracín Teulón, Augustín
History and Technology
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Perspectives on Science
Medical History
University of Rochester Press
Nivola Libros y Ediciones
Virginia, University of
Indiana University
Columbia University
Circulation of the blood
Mechanism; mechanical philosophy
Harvey, William
Descartes, René
Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam
Sprat, Thomas
Hobbes, Thomas
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
Early modern
18th century
Great Britain
London (England)
Royal Society of London

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