Bibliography:AKC Bibliography 0392


Lucie Čermáková. Athanasius Kircher and Vegetal Magnetism: Analogy as a Method. ().

Name(s) Lucie Čermáková
Title Athanasius Kircher and Vegetal Magnetism: Analogy as a Method
Place of printing
Printer Brill
Language(s) eng
Contained in Early Science and Medicine, Volume 23: Issue 5-6, 487–508
Bibliographic level Paper in journal
Catalogue description
Key Concept(s) Analogy
Cited in

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, plants were the object of a primarily descriptive approach: naturalists were concerned mainly with collecting and classifying. When confronted with the splendour of great herbals and florilegia, one can easily overlook the works which deal with plants from a more theoretical or philosophical perspective. This paper examines a chapter on vegetal magnetism in Athanasius Kircher’s treatise Magnes sive de arte magnetica. My analysis shows how Kircher uses the analogy with magnets to describe the various features of plants. He uses analogy as an epistemological tool. In Kircher’s view, analogy is not merely an illustration, it also helps him to show how plants with all their more-or-less peculiar morphological and physiological properties can be included in the whole order of creation.