Investigations of Nature in the Enlightenment

HPSC X705 — Fall 2020

Gunter's quadrant wheel
Domenico Bertoloni Meli
Ballantine 123
Days and Times
M 12:30 p.m. - 03:00 p.m.
Course Description

This course covers investigations of nature in the long 18th century, from the time of Newton and Leibniz to the Encyclopédie and beyond. I am planning to discuss a wide range of issues, starting from concepts of nature and the changing nature of investigative practices. Topics include, but are not limited to, philosophical reflections on space and time, astronomy and geodesy, collecting and museums, the classification of plants and animals, electricity and chemistry, changing perspectives on the human body in health and disease – including the sadly topical debates on smallpox inoculation. We will read a combination of primary and secondary sources, starting from excerpts from Newton’s Principia and contemporary works in anatomy and natural history from the late the 17th century.

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The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

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