Article ID: CBB418681726

Athanasius Kircher and Vegetal Magnetism: Analogy as a Method (2018)


During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, plants were the object of a primarily descriptive approach: naturalists were concerned mainly with collecting and classifying. When confronted with the splendour of great herbals and florilegia, one can easily overlook the works which deal with plants from a more theoretical or philosophical perspective. This paper examines a chapter on vegetal magnetism in Athanasius Kircher’s treatise Magnes sive de arte magnetica. My analysis shows how Kircher uses the analogy with magnets to describe the various features of plants. He uses analogy as an epistemological tool. In Kircher’s view, analogy is not merely an illustration, it also helps him to show how plants with all their more-or-less peculiar morphological and physiological properties can be included in the whole order of creation.

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Article Fabrizio Baldassarri; Oana Matei (2018) Manipulating Flora: Seventeenth-Century Botanical Practices and Natural Philosophy. Introduction. Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period (pp. 413-419). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Funk, Holger
Baldassarri, Fabrizio
Matei, Oana
Tassanee Alleau
Mirren, Helen
Čermáková, Lucie
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Archives of Natural History
Atti e Memorie, Rivista di Storia della Farmacia
Mefisto: Rivista di medicina, filosofia, storia
Renaissance Studies
Walter de Gruyter
Harper Design
Bodleian Library
Science and literature
Metaphors; analogies
Natural philosophy
Zalužanský ze Zalužan, Adam
Shakespeare, William
Della Porta, Giovan Battista
Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam
Wolf, Hans Kaspar
Milton, John
Time Periods
16th century
17th century
Early modern
18th century

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