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Aristotelian Corpuscular Theory and Andreas Libavius

Aristotelian Corpuscular Theory and Andreas Libavius

(p.66) 3 Aristotelian Corpuscular Theory and Andreas Libavius
Atoms and Alchemy
University of Chicago Press

In the early seventeenth century, Paracelsus's term spagyria—which originally emphasized analysis or Scheidung over synthesis—was subjected to linguistic analysis by the fiery polemicist Andreas Libavius, an outspoken opponent of Paracelsus who nonetheless defended chymistry. Libavius's treatment would explicitly link spagyria to atomism via the intermediary of Aristotle's fourth book, Meteorology. Libavius's references to meteorological and alchemical processes as due to synkrisis and diakrisis reveal his longstanding affection for the Meteorology. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the analysis that Libavius did achieve a straightforward synthesis of the doctrines in Aristotle's Meteorology with his understanding of Democritean atomism.

Keywords:   Aristotelianism, corpuscular theory, Daniel Sennert, alchemy, Andreas Libavius, spagyria, Paracelsus, atomism, Aristotle, Meteorology

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