Instruments and the Imagination Thomas L. Hankins Robert J. Silverman Instruments and the Imagination Thomas Hankins and Robert Silverman investigate an array of instruments from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century that seem at first to be marginal to science magnetic clocks that were said
  • Title: Instruments and the Imagination
  • Author: Thomas L. Hankins Robert J. Silverman
  • ISBN: 9780691029979
  • Page: 285
  • Format: Hardcover
Instruments and the Imagination Thomas L. Hankins Robert J. SilvermanThomas Hankins and Robert Silverman investigate an array of instruments from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century that seem at first to be marginal to science magnetic clocks that were said to operate by the movements of sunflower seeds, magic lanterns, ocular harpsichords machines that played different colored lights in harmonious mixtures , Aeolian harps a fThomas Hankins and Robert Silverman investigate an array of instruments from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century that seem at first to be marginal to science magnetic clocks that were said to operate by the movements of sunflower seeds, magic lanterns, ocular harpsichords machines that played different colored lights in harmonious mixtures , Aeolian harps a form of wind chime , and other instruments of natural magic designed to produce wondrous effects By looking at these and the first recording instruments, the stereoscope, and speaking machines, the authors show that scientific instruments first made their appearance as devices used to evoke wonder in the beholder, as in works of magic and the theater.The authors also demonstrate that these instruments, even though they were often tricks, were seen by their inventors as than trickery In the view of Athanasius Kircher, for instance, the sunflower clock was not merely a hoax, but an effort to demonstrate, however fraudulently, his truly held belief that the ability of a flower to follow the sun was due to the same cosmic magnetic influence as that which moved the planets and caused the rotation of the earth The marvels revealed in this work raise and answer questions about the connections between natural science and natural magic, the meaning of demonstration, the role of language and the senses in science, and the connections among art, music, literature, and natural science.
Instruments and the Imagination Thomas L. Hankins Robert J. Silverman

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One Reply to “Instruments and the Imagination”

  1. This is an interesting academic history of various instruments that sit somewhere between what we might now think of as science and showmanship What the authors call natural magic applied philosophy of nature Each chapter discusses a different class of instruments and a different context emerges although some themes recur While often focused on marginal figures major thinkers like Descartes, Galileo and Helmholtz also play a role There are links here to the history of stage magic romantic approa [...]

  2. I am only skimming this book at present But my impression is that it describes the transition of science from a realm of witchery in the year 1500 or so to the collection of facts and data we think of as science today It isn t what I m looking for at the moment but I do want to read it closely in the future The method for illustrating the transition includes stories about magical contraptions and grand stories concocted by pseduo scientists whom we today might think of as magicians or illusioni [...]

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