By Brian Muñoz, Matthew Landers

Throughout early glossy Europe, the starting to be medical perform of dissection caused new and insightful rules concerning the human physique. This selection of essays explores the impression of anatomical wisdom on wider problems with studying and tradition.

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Extra resources for Anatomy and the Organization of Knowledge, 1500–1850

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The Anatomy of Melancholy resembles Vesalian anatomies insofar as Burton’s organization of the topic relies on a physical logic of function, avoiding the difficulties raised by linear syllogistic thinking. Just as the anatomist narrates the structure of the body in a non-linear fashion, digressing frequently as he encounters organs and structures, drawing attention to function and association, Burton progresses in a manner suited to the dissection and demonstration of his topic: melancholy. Strictly speaking, this arrangement is not logical, in a syllogistic sense.

As his preface indicates, Petty was fascinated by mathematics’ apparent capacity to give experiential, even sensual, validity to ideas that are fundamentally abstract. Convinced by Harvey’s argument, Petty saw the potential of applying a new sort of reasoning to other subjects of philosophical concern, including politics, sovereignty and wealth. And even those who were less interested in mathematical reasoning appreciated the implications of Harvey’s mathematically-inflected concept of circulation for the nation’s financing challenges.

Put differently, that which we perceive to be ‘joined’ in the visible ‘integrum’ must first ‘in reason [be] divided therefrom’. 39 Crooke’s explanation helps to flush out a rather elusive notion of system in the early modern period and offers a clear definition of the anatomy, first as a mode, and second as a genre. The Aesthetics of Anatomy The application of Vesalian methodology in England explains, to some extent, the explosion in the number of literary ‘anatomies’ written throughout the seventeenth century.

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Anatomy and the Organization of Knowledge, 1500–1850 by Brian Muñoz, Matthew Landers
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