Distilling Knowledge Alchemy, Chemistry, and the Scientific Revolution
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Description: Alchemy can't be science--common sense tells us as much. But perhaps common sense is not the best measure of what science is, or was. In this book, Bruce Moran looks past contemporary assumptions and prejudices to determine what alchemists were actually doing in the context of early modern science. Examining the ways alchemy and chemistry were studied and practiced between 1400 and 1700, he shows how these approaches influenced their respective practitioners' ideas about nature and shaped their inquiries into the workings of the natural world. His work sets up a dialogue between what historians have usually presented as separate spheres; here we see how alchemists and early chemists exchanged ideas and methods and in fact shared a territory between their two disciplines. Distilling Knowledge suggests that scientific revolution may wear a different appearance in different cultural contexts. The metaphor of the Scientific Revolution, Moran argues, can be expanded to make sense of alchemy and other so-called pseudo-sciences--by including a new framework in which "process can count as an object, in which making leads to learning, and in which the messiness of conflict leads to discernment." Seen on its own terms, alchemy can stand within the bounds of demonstrative science.
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All the information you need in one place! Each Study Brief is a summary of one specific subject; facts, figures, and explanations to help you learn faster.
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 9/1/2006
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Bruce T. Moran is Professor of History, University of Nevada at Reno.
|"That Pleasing Novelty": Alchemy in Artisan and Daily Life|
|Paracelsus and the "Paracelsians": Natural Relationships and Separation as Creation|
|Sites of Learning and the Language of Chemistry|
|Alchemy, Chemistry, and the Technology of Knowing|
|The Reality of Relationship|
|Conclusion: Varieties of Experience in Reading the Book of Nature|