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EGENIS seminar: "Plants as instruments of knowledge in early modern natural philosophy", Dr Oana Matei (Vasile Goldis Western University of Arad)

Egenis seminar series

This session will discuss the development of an early modern “science of vegetation,” which emerged from the aggregation of a range of empirical and experimental practices of early modern naturalists.

Event details

Naturalists explored what they sometimes called “mechanical” and other times “chemical” transformations of plants (i.e. the different stages through which a seed becomes a mature plant). Their investigations allowed the formulation of new research questions, such as: is the difference between natural and artificial entities reducible to efficient causation? is the development of seeds and plants following a pre-established order that is defined through regular, sometimes geometrical structures? how do the structures of pre-established order get into the seed of a plant? It also led to the development of more sophisticated experimental practices (using various instruments, such as the microscope). What emerged was a new “science of vegetation” in which plants were treated as laboratories, used to investigate fundamental processes of nature. In short, plants became ‘instruments of knowledge.”

Venue: Byrne House

Virtual: via Zoom

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