Download Renaissance Meteorology: Pomponazzi to Descartes by Craig Martin PDF

By Craig Martin

Craig Martin takes a cautious examine how Renaissance scientists analyzed and interpreted rain, wind, and different average phenomena like meteors and earthquakes and their influence at the nice thinkers of the clinical revolution.

Martin argues that meteorology used to be an important to the transformation that came about in technological know-how in the course of the early sleek interval. through reading the conceptual foundations of the topic, Martin hyperlinks Aristotelian meteorology with the hot common philosophies of the 17th century. He argues that simply because meteorology concerned conjecture and remark and compelled consciousness to fabric and effective causation, it paralleled advancements within the normal philosophies of Descartes and different key figures of the medical revolution.

Although an inherently doubtful pastime, forecasting the elements was once an exceptionally precious part not only of medical examine, but additionally of politics, courtly lifestyles, and spiritual doctrine. Martin explores how ordinary philosophers of the time participated in political and non secular controversies through debating the meanings, explanations, and reasons of normal mess ups and different climate phenomena.

Through cautious readings of a magnificent variety of texts, Martin situates the heritage of meteorology in the better context of Renaissance and early glossy technological know-how. the 1st examine on Renaissance theories of climate in 5 a long time, Renaissance Meteorology bargains a singular realizing of conventional traditional philosophy and its influence at the improvement of contemporary science.

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Extra resources for Renaissance Meteorology: Pomponazzi to Descartes

Example text

While the necessity of rain for agriculture might obviously point to an anthropocentric purpose, the ends of meteorologically provoked disasters are less clear or even dubious. What is the purpose of a destructive storm or flood? Answers to these questions were inevitably linked to theological and ethical concepts during the Renaissance, and the character of these answers in the sixteenth century largely differed according to the confessional divide between Protestants and Catholics. The difficulty and uncertainty engendered by meteorology made it possible for authors from Italy, influenced in part by medieval theology, to contrast the limitations of human knowledge with God’s absolute power.

Both Francesco Piccolomini and Giacomo Zabarella, two of the most famous professors of natural philosophy at Padua during the sixteenth century, taught logic before they wrote about meteorology. 2 Their familiarity with syllogisms, epistemology, and what more recent commentators have called method led natural philosophers to consider the status of knowledge of meteorological phenomena. Realizing that Aristotle’s logic offers a number of paths toward understanding, authors of meteorological treatises recognized that the Analytics presented idealizations of knowledge that were not always applicable because of limitations to human understanding and the irregularity of some facets of nature.

8 Using this model of method, natural signs, experience, and observations lead to the hypothetical determination of the causes of effects, what Averroes termed demonstratio signi (demonstrations from signs). Then by an intellective negotiatio, confidence in the hypothetical causes increases. Finally, the causes can then be used to explain the effects in a certain demonstration. Thus, regressus allows for the possibility of change and progress in natural philosophical knowledge and a place for hypothetical understandings of nature without rejecting the ideal of syllogistic demonstration.

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