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Wicked IntelligenceVisual Art and the Science of Experiment in Restoration London$
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Matthew C. Hunter

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226017297

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226017327.001.0001

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“I Resolved to Throw Aside All Manner of Hypotheses … and to Attend Wholly to What the Appearances Themselves Would Teach Me”

“I Resolved to Throw Aside All Manner of Hypotheses … and to Attend Wholly to What the Appearances Themselves Would Teach Me”

Chapter:
(p.28) Chapter One “I Resolved to Throw Aside All Manner of Hypotheses … and to Attend Wholly to What the Appearances Themselves Would Teach Me”
Source:
Wicked Intelligence
Author(s):

Matthew C. Hunter

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226017327.003.0002

Micrographia (1665) is not only Robert Hooke’s most famous work; it was a totemic project for the early Royal Society of London. Published when its author was not yet thirty years old, Micrographia manifests the pronounced influence of lessons Hooke had learned in the painting studio of Peter Lely and from collaborative work with Oxford’s experimental-philosophical elites. Yet, as this chapter argues, the confident pictorial strategies and robust epistemological value that Hooke theorized for Micrographia’s stunning images also depart massively from the fragmentary, tortured visual forms of his later draftsmanship, particularly his astronomical drawings of the early 1680s. That late graphic work has been much less well known because it was actively suppressed by Hooke’s posthumous editor—this despite the fact that Hooke assigned it even stronger cognitive force than Micrographia’s plates. How do we account for these strange shifts and discrepancies between graphic form and cognitive function? Working between these paired groupings of drawings from the 1660s and 1680s, the chapter shows how Hooke’s weird pictorial project effectively explodes a sequence of carefully-crafted observational protocols and models of the experimental-philosophical self, as well as the narratives by which recent, interdisciplinary interpretation would bind them.

Keywords:   Robert Hooke, Micrographia, microscopic drawing, telescopic drawing, Peter Lely, comets, cognition, experimental philosophy, scientific self

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