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Atoms and AlchemyChymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution$
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William R. Newman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226576961

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226577036.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

The Medieval Tradition of Alchemical Corpuscular Theory

The Medieval Tradition of Alchemical Corpuscular Theory

(p.23) 1 The Medieval Tradition of Alchemical Corpuscular Theory
Atoms and Alchemy
University of Chicago Press

To understand Sennert's approach to atomism and the significance of his work, this chapter begins with the tradition of experimental and corpuscular alchemy that formed his most important source. Like Sennert himself, this tradition was highly Aristotelian in character, and yet it reflected a type of Aristotelianism that finds little or no representation in modern histories of philosophy. As this book shows, the alchemists of the High Middle Ages established an experimentally based corpuscular theory that would develop over the course of several centuries and eventually supply important components to the mechanical philosophy of the scientific revolution. The very movement that devoted itself single-mindedly to the destruction of Aristotelian natural philosophy was itself indebted in highly significant ways to the Aristotelianism of the Latin alchemists. To understand Sennert and other authors, the chapter presents an overview of the Summa's immensely influential theory and its experimental basis.

Keywords:   medieval tradition, corpuscular theory, Daniel Sennert, alchemy, Aristotelianism, Latin alchemists, scientific revolution

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