Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
cover

A Subtle and Mysterious Machine

The Medical World of Walter Charleton (1619-1707)

Authors: Booth, Emily

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About this book

Walter Charleton (1619-1707) has been widely depicted as a natural philosopher whose intellectual career mirrored the intellectual ferment of the ‘scientific revolution’. Instead of viewing him as a barometer of intellectual change, I examine the previously unexplored question of his identity as a physician. Examining three of his vernacular medical texts, this volume considers Charleton’s thoughts on anatomy, physiology and the methods by which he sought to understand the invisible processes of the body.

Although involved in many empirical investigations within the Royal Society, he did not give epistemic primacy to experimental findings, nor did he deliberately identify himself with the empirical methods associated with the ‘new science’. Instead Charleton presented himself as a scholarly eclectic, following a classical model of the self. Physicians needed to endorse both ancient and modern authorities, in order to attract and retain patients. I argue that Charleton’s circumstances as a practising physician resulted in the construction of an identity at variance with that widely associated with natural philosophers. The insights he can offer us into the world of seventeenth century physicians are highly significant and utterly fascinating.

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)
  • Introduction

    Pages 1-31

  • Rewriting Walter Charleton: Physick and Natural Philosophy

    Pages 32-51

  • ’The Alembic of Our Pen’: Charleton’s Identity as a Physician

    Pages 52-80

  • ’The Animal Oeconomy’: Natural History (1659) in the Context of English Physiology

    Pages 81-108

  • ’The Republick of Letters’: Charleton’s Identity in the Royal Society & College of Physicians

    Pages 109-136

Buy this book

eBook $139.00
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-3378-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $179.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-3377-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $179.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-90-481-6848-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
A Subtle and Mysterious Machine
Book Subtitle
The Medical World of Walter Charleton (1619-1707)
Authors
Series Title
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Series Volume
18
Copyright
2005
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
eBook ISBN
978-1-4020-3378-0
DOI
10.1007/1-4020-3378-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4020-3377-3
Softcover ISBN
978-90-481-6848-4
Series ISSN
0929-6425
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VIII, 300
Topics