Article ID: CBB075029309

A “Wild Swing to Phantsy”: The Philosophical Gardener and Emergent Experimental Philosophy in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic World (2021)


This essay traces the changing relationship between horticulture, agriculture, and philosophy across the seventeenth century, as the personae of the philosophical husbandman and the philosophical gardener intertwined and competed. At stake in the dynamics between them was the relationship between abstruse researches and practical applications in evolving experimental philosophy, as well as the aesthetic of experimental practices and rhetoric. Early seventeenth-century promoters of colonial projects, such as Virginian sericulture, situated the metropolitan pleasure garden, a place of whimsy and fantastical reasoning, as a realm of trial that presumed eventual utility and application to large-scale husbandry. Such views informed relationships between fanciful trials, speculative proposals, and presumptions of future utility in the development of the persona of the philosophical gardener and attendant notions of experimental philosophy over the course of the century.

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Authors & Contributors
Skeehan, Danielle C.
Anja Timmermann
Marsh, Ben
Jim Mills
Brixius, Dorit
Kerkhoff, Kathinka Sinha
William and Mary Quarterly
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Journal of Global History
Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies
British Journal for the History of Science
American Historical Review
Partridge India
Yale University Press
University of Pennsylvania Press
The MIT Press
Rowman & Littlefield
Economic botany; plant cultivation; horticulture
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Petiver, James
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
17th century
20th century
16th century
Early modern
Atlantic world
Great Britain
Atlantic Ocean
West Africa

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