Chapter

Erastus and the Critique of Chymical Analysis

in Atoms and Alchemy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780226576961
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226577036 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226577036.003.0003
Erastus and the Critique of Chymical Analysis

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This chapter examines Geber's insistence on the fact that laboratory operations can reveal the fundamental components of matter by means of analysis. Despite its immediate appeal to the modern mind, the chymists' belief that laboratory operations could separate the preexistent components of a given substance was far from unproblematic. A reliance on chymical analysis raised serious concerns about the artifactual nature of the products arrived at by laboratory operations. Scholastic natural philosophers were keenly aware of the fact that fire is a violent agent, which could impose new changes on matter as well as separating preexistent ingredients.

Keywords: Erastus; chymical analysis; artifactual nature; preexistent ingredients; alchemy

Chapter.  9999 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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