Book ID: CBB683914404

The Mind Is a Collection: Case Studies in Eighteenth-Century Thought (2015)


John Locke described the mind as a cabinet; Robert Hooke called it a repository; Joseph Addison imagined a drawer of medals. Each of these philosophers was an avid collector and curator of books, coins, and cultural artifacts. It is therefore no coincidence that when they wrote about the mental work of reason and imagination, they modeled their powers of intellect in terms of collecting, cataloging, and classification.The Mind Is a Collection approaches seventeenth- and eighteenth-century metaphors of the mind from a material point of view. Each of the book's six chapters is organized as a series of linked exhibits that speak to a single aspect of Enlightenment philosophies of mind. From his first chapter, on metaphor, to the last one, on dispossession, Sean Silver looks at ways that abstract theories referred to cognitive ecologies—systems crafted to enable certain kinds of thinking, such as libraries, workshops, notebooks, collections, and gardens. In doing so, he demonstrates the crossings-over of material into ideal, ideal into material, and the ways in which an idea might repeatedly turn up in an object, or a range of objects might repeatedly stand for an idea. A brief conclusion examines the afterlife of the metaphor of mind as collection, as it turns up in present-day cognitive studies. Modern cognitive theory has been applied to the microcomputer, and while the object is new, the habit is as old as the Enlightenment.By examining lived environments and embodied habits from 1660 to 1800, Silver demonstrates that the philosophical dualism that separated mind from body and idea from thing was inextricably established through active engagement with crafted ecologies.

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Review Thomas Salem Manganaro (2017) Review of "The Mind Is a Collection: Case Studies in Eighteenth-Century Thought". Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology (pp. 121-124). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Rey Bueno, Mar
Achim, Miruna
Cipriani, Curzio
Constantino, María Eugenia
Cooper, Leon N.
Craske, Matthew
Journal of the History of Collections
Archives of Natural History
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Studium: Tijdschrift voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteitgeschiedenis
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Firenze University Press
Leo S. Olschki
Collectors and collecting
Natural history
Science and art
Lastanosa, Vincencio Juan de
Jacquin, Nikolaus Joseph von
Linnaeus, Carolus
Petiver, James
Vincent, Levinus
Vlockamer, Johann Georg
Time Periods
18th century
17th century
19th century
20th century, early
16th century
20th century
Great Britain
Museum Boerhaave (Leiden)
Royal Society of London
Habsburg, House of
École Royale des Mines

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