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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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Cascade, Copper, Collection

Cascade, Copper, Collection

Constellations of Images in 1670s Experimental Philosophy

(p.125) Chapter Four Cascade, Copper, Collection
Wicked Intelligence

Matthew C. Hunter

University of Chicago Press

By necessity, the philosophy of experiment was to be a collaborative project. As Royal Society Fellows repeatedly emphasized, images were often much more useful for conveying information to fellow experimentalists than words alone. But, how was such a scientific collectivity to be organized? And by exactly what means were images to serve the advancement of experimental knowledge? Centered around Philosophical Collections (the scientific periodical Robert Hooke edited between 1679-82), this chapter reads the evidence of how these diverse visual materials were made, used, and understood to be susceptible to incorporation as scientific knowledge. Tracing micro-histories of the journal’s contributors and placing them against Hooke’s contemporaneous writings on the ideal organization of the experimental community, the chapter explores how the management of diverse agents and information became a pressing problem for Royal Society Fellows in the later 1670s. The chapter stresses what Hooke’s contributors keenly recognized: that his vision for a vertically-integrated “philosophical army” was often at cross purposes with the individual interests they aimed to pursue with and through his periodical’s images.

Keywords:   Philosophical Collections, John Covel, William Cole, Robert Hooke, Bruno Latour, collecting, scientific journals, alchemy, architecture, information management

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