Article ID: CBB342643342

The Reader as Authorial Figure in Scientific Debate (2016)


In 1651, Alexander Ross published an attack on Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Bacon's Natural History and William Harvey's De generatione. Ross's work, Arcana Microcosmi, defended Aristotelian natural philosophy against the ‘new philosophy’ that figures like Bacon, Harvey and Browne represented. Though Ross's attacks on these authors make up no more than half of the treatise’s contents, the book’s paratextual materials emphasise scientific debate. While Ross's authorial approach advocates reading exclusively ancient authorities for the sake of glossing and transmitting their knowledge to a wider public, in order to argue against the new philosophy Ross must engage with its textual production. Furthermore, his works advertise their focus on Bacon, Harvey and Browne, which would have attracted a readership drawn to new scientific approaches to knowledge formation. Ross's polemic represents an effort to model his devotion to ancient authority while also generating a reading public that would resist the new approach to reading that the new philosophy proposed.

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Authors & Contributors
Feingold, Mordechai
Attie, Katherine Bootle
O'Connell, Caryn Maureen
Robinson, Benedict
Lee, Daniel D.
Vries, Lyke de
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Perspectives on Science
Modern Philology
Journal of Literature and Science
Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Emory University
University of Illinois Press
Cornell University Press
University of Virginia
Yale University
Natural philosophy
Controversies and disputes
Experiments and experimentation
Communication of scientific ideas
Science and literature
Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam
Browne, Thomas
Harvey, William
Milton, John
Boyle, Robert
Vaughan, Henry
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
Early modern
18th century
Great Britain
British Isles
Royal Society of London

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