Studies in History and Philosophy of Science

Experiment and Natural Philosophy in Seventeenth-Century Tuscany

The History of the Accademia del Cimento

Authors: Boschiero, Luciano

  • Broadly relevant to studies of Scientific Revolution, not just the Accademia del Cimento
  • Provides fresh insight into early modern scientific academies, especially in Italy
  • Clear and straightforward style of writing, avoiding convoluted prose common in such works
  • Challenges dominant historiographies of post-Galilean Italian science
  • Introduces Anglophones largely unfamiliar with Continental science history, to Italian studies
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Hardcover $339.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-6245-2
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Softcover $339.00
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About this book

The Accademia del Cimento (1657-1667) was the first institution in Europe purporting to use an experimental method in its scientific inquiries. According to some recent accounts, the Cimento belonged to a new culture of knowledge making that abandoned the practice of constructing theories in favour of a programme that simply accumulated ‘matters of fact’, free from theoretical arguments and speculations.

However, while the Cimento, led by Tuscany’s Prince Leopoldo de’Medici, created a persuasive experimental rhetoric, in actuality the academicians continued to construct experiments and interpret their results on the basis of their theoretical aims and their broader interests in natural philosophy.

This analysis begins by examining the use of experiments, mathematics, and natural philosophy in seventeenth-century Italy. Once these topics are clearly defined, it becomes easier to understand the intellectual interests and motivations of each of the Cimento’s members. Case studies regarding the Cimento’s work on air-pressure, the vacuum, the freezing process, and the properties and effects of heat and cold, reveal the group’s natural philosophical skills, commitments, and agendas. Meanwhile, in an attempt to avoid religious pressure and to maintain an uncontroversial reputation for the academy, Leopoldo censored the academicians from publicly expressing their views on a number of issues.

The purpose of this work is to counter historiographies that search for the origins of modern science within the experimental practices of Europe’s first scientific institutions, such as the Cimento. It proposes that we should look beyond the experimental rhetoric found in published works, to find that the Cimento academicians were participants in a culture of natural philosophical theorising that existed throughout Europe.

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  • 350 Years of coming to grips with the experimental activities of Galileo and his followers

    Pages 13-35

  • Vincenzio Viviani (1622–1703): Galileo's last disciple

    Pages 37-57

  • Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608–1679)

    Pages 59-91

  • What it meant to be a Cimento academician

    Pages 93-109

  • Experiments concerning air pressure and the void and a look at the Accademia's internal workings

    Pages 115-140

Buy this book

eBook $269.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-6246-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $339.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-6245-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $339.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-90-481-7581-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Experiment and Natural Philosophy in Seventeenth-Century Tuscany
Book Subtitle
The History of the Accademia del Cimento
Authors
Series Title
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Series Volume
21
Copyright
2007
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
eBook ISBN
978-1-4020-6246-9
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4020-6246-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4020-6245-2
Softcover ISBN
978-90-481-7581-9
Series ISSN
0929-6425
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 251
Topics