Article ID: CBB619175974

Francis Bacon, José de Acosta, and Traditions of Natural Histories of Winds (2020)


It is well attested that Francis Bacon considered his History of Winds to be an exemplar, but what lessons should be taken from its example have been subject to debate. Instead of looking at this work as a mere model for the fusion of natural history and natural philosophy, it is also possible to see Bacon as trying to provide tentative solutions to outstanding questions regarding the wind, a topic that was deeply scrutinized during the early modern period. An examination of Bacon’s provisional concluding rules reveals deep correspondences with earlier works, such as José de Acosta’s Natural and Moral History of the Indies, that revised classical understandings of the wind based on experience, experiments, and accounts of travels beyond Europe. Understanding the History of Winds as a genuine attempt to solve outstanding questions about the wind uncovers its debt to earlier traditions, including those related to Renaissance natural history, and shows it’s influence in relation to specific theories of the wind beyond its call for methodological reform.

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Authors & Contributors
Jalobeanu, Dana
Rankin, Alisha
Mahlmann-Bauer, Barbara
Stuckrad, Kocku von
Corneanu, Sorana
Giglioni, Guido Maria
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Perspectives on Science
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Harrassowitz in Kommission
University of Chicago Press
Edizioni ETS
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Franco Angeli
Experiments and experimentation
Natural philosophy
Natural history
Experience; witness
Science and culture
Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam
Descartes, René
Boyle, Robert
Suhrawardī, Yaḥyá ibn Ḥabash
Hooke, Robert
Newton, Isaac
Time Periods
Early modern
17th century
16th century
Royal Society of London
Royal Society

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