Bibliography:AKC Bibliography 0392
Lucie Čermáková. Athanasius Kircher and Vegetal Magnetism: Analogy as a Method. ().
|Title||Athanasius Kircher and Vegetal Magnetism: Analogy as a Method|
|Contained in||Early Science and Medicine, Volume 23: Issue 5-6, 487–508|
|Bibliographic level||Paper in journal|
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.