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Publications of the New Europe College reflect the scholarly output of the fellows and researchers, as well as the events and programmes developed by the College.

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Plants as Instruments of Knowledge in Early Modern Natural Philosophy (2018-2019)

Field of study: History, Philosophy of Science

The study of plants in mid-seventeenth century England concentrated less on the external and internal features of plants for taxonomic purposes and more on the investigation of fundamental processes of nature such as vegetation, fermentation, germination, etc. It constituted itself into a novel discipline that opposed scholasticism by trying to identify alternatives ways of interpreting nature and it was based on a process of empirical investigation of nature that included new methods and techniques such as direct observation and experimentation, or the use of instruments and measurements. This new discipline used plants as instruments of inquiry into nature in a bottom-up methodological framework that had more to do with practices and experiments than with theoretical commitments.

Keywords: the study of plants, fundamental processes of nature, experiments, natural history, natural philosophy

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