Constructing a Cosmographical Epistemology

in Secret Science

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226675343
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226675374 | DOI:
Constructing a Cosmographical Epistemology

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In response to his critics, Juan López de Velasco set in motion the most ambitious and successful program ever attempted during the early modern era for collecting geographical, ethnographical, and natural historical information about the New World. This chapter considers the genesis, implementation, and results of two major projects: the questionnaires of the Indies and a project to systematically observe lunar eclipses to determine longitude. It presents Velasco's projects as the result of a revalorization of the epistemological criteria used to ascertain cosmographical facts and as the reconceptualization of the modes of representation necessary to encompass the fluid nature of knowledge about the New World.

Keywords: Velasco; cosmography; New World; Indies; lunar eclipse

Chapter.  19719 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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