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Theory, Practice, and Nature In-between: Antonio Vallisneri's 'Primi Itineris Specimen'

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Book Series: Sources 9: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561324 Year: Pages: 369 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Added to DOAB on : 2018-04-19 14:28:52
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Abstract

In the summer of 1704, Antonio Vallisneri (1661–1730), the preeminent Italian physician and natural philosopher of his time, traveled with a “daring soul” and “trembling feet” across the “silent horrors” of the northern Apennines: down the hills south of Reggio Emilia to northern Tuscany and the western edge of his native land, the Province of Garfagnana. He then wrote a report of this adventure, the Primi Itineris per Montes Specimen Physico-Medicum (“Physico-medical example of a first journey through the mountains"), and sent it to the Royal Society of London, hoping for its publication in Philosophical Transactions. Unfortunately this did not happen and the manuscript disappeared from sight. The original draft, however, survived in the State Archive of the Italian city of Reggio Emilia where it was found in 2009. With its exceptional array of geological, medical, geographical, technical, ethnographic, and historical data, the Primi Itineris Specimen is one of the earliest and most well-documented attempts to define a systematic approach to field research. Its frantically reworked pages and anxious marginal notes offer a new and precious opportunity to understand why and how experimental data and theories in the early modern period interacted and shaped the development of many crucial debates. These include the discovering of deep-time, the comprehension of geological phenomena (such as the hydrologic cycle and the origin of mountains and fossils), the perception of man’s place in nature, the constant search for new therapeutics, the tormented and charming relation between science and religion.

Studies in Multilingualism, Lingua Franca and Lingua Sacra

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Book Series: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge Studies ISBN: 9783945561133 Year: Pages: 543 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access Max Planck Institute for the History of Science Grant: FP7 Ideas: European Research Council - 323596
Subject: Linguistics
Added to DOAB on : 2019-04-11 11:21:07
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Abstract

The present book comprises a number of studies centered around the topic of how knowledge diffuses from one culture to another, and how knowledge diffusion is connected with the spread of languages and the conceptual systems they carry by translation. This diffusion also takes place also over linguistic borders, in the way that a given receiving language may also absorb systems of knowledge from languages that are linguistically quite unrelated but culturally connected with respect to knowledge transfer. Thus we find that Sumerian concepts with considerable impact were moved into the Akkadian language, along with writing-systems, religion, science and literature, even though linguistically the languages are completely unrelated. Another example is how Chinese culture and writing systems spread throughout East Asia into Korea, Japan and Vietnam, though the languages of these countries were linguistically unrelated to Chinese. The same case can be made for Buddhist ways of thinking when it was clothed in the garb of Chinese or Tibetan, or one of the other languages along the Silk Road. This is also true for the spread of Manicheism, as it was portrayed in a great number of languages, related or unrelated. German and Latin are linguistically related, but when Latin learning was communicated in Old High German, many of its terms were created in Middle German to accommodate the Latin conceptual world, and the German language was lastingly enriched with novisms denoting concepts of the Classical traditions of learning, in a process parallel to the spread of Greek Christianity into the East European cultures and languages. The book describes some cases of such knowledge transfer and what kind of mechanisms are involved in the ensuing language changes in the receiving languages and cultures.

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Multilingualism --- culture --- languages

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