By John Glassie
A Scientific American Best technology e-book of 2012
An Atlantic cord most sensible e-book of 2012
A New York occasions e-book Review Editor's Choice”
The fascinating” (The New Yorker) tale of Athanasius Kircher, the eccentric scholar-inventor who used to be both an excellent genius or a crackpot . . . or a bit both.
The pursuits of Athanasius Kircher, the mythical seventeenth-century priest-scientist, knew no bounds. From optics to tune to magnetism to medication, he provided up innovations and theories for every little thing, they usually made him recognized throughout Europe. His celebrated museum in Rome featured magic lanterns, conversing statues, the tail of a mermaid, and a brick from the Tower of Babel. Holy Roman Emperors have been his consumers, popes have been his neighbors, and in his spare time he collaborated with the Baroque grasp Bernini.
yet Kircher lived in the course of an period of radical transformation, during which the previous method of knowledgewhat he known as the art of knowing” used to be giving method to the clinical approach and glossy proposal. A guy of Misconceptions traces the increase, luck, and eventual fall of this interesting personality as he tried to return to phrases with a altering world.
With humor and perception, John Glassie returns Kircher to his rightful position as certainly one of history’s so much unforgettable figures.
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Additional info for A Man of Misconceptions: The Life of an Eccentric in an Age of Change
It did not discuss the problem of justifying inductive inference, propose formal criteria for establishing physical hypotheses, nor did it stipulate formal rules for limiting causal inquiry. ~le_ig~~~~na concreteexperimental seTIiiigft showed the new natural philosopher how he was to proceed in dealing with practical matters of induction, hypothesizing, causal theorizing, and the relating of matters of fact to their explanations. Boyle sought here to create a picture to accompany the experimental language-game and the experimental form of life.
And 6 4 We shall see that Boyle's adversaries, Hobbes and Linus, refused to allow this phenomenon to pass into the new, "nonmetaphyskal" experimental discourse. Boyle's responses to them commented upon vacuist-plenist discourse and its legitimacy in this case. 47 For an attempt to identify Boyle's "coherent and sophisticated view of scientific method," see Laudan, "The Clock Metaphor and Probabilism," pp. 81-97, esp. p. 81. We have no substantial disagreements with Laudan on Boyle's methods, but we dissent from his assessment of Boyle's philosophy as coherent and systematic.
O the eJC}:>erimental form oflife, let us proceed to. analyze and display. tal distmc IOn e ween actua expen ents and what are now termed "thoughfexperimenfs:"62 If Knowledge was-to De eriipiri- '! , pp. 13,16; idem, "Continuation of New Experiments," pp. 176-177. See, for instance, Boyle, "Sceptical Chymist," p. " For an insinuation that Henry More may not actually have performed experiments adduced against Boyle's findings, see Boyle, "Hydrostatical Discourse," pp. 607-608. Compare the response of Boyle to Pascal's trials of the Puy-de-Dome experiment ("New Experiments," p.
A Man of Misconceptions: The Life of an Eccentric in an Age of Change by John Glassie