Knowing and doing in the sixteenth century: what were instruments for?


Abstract
Despite recent work on scientific instruments by historians of science, the meeting ground between historians and curators of collections has been disappointingly narrow. This study offers, first, a characterization of sixteenth-century mathematical instruments, drawing on the work of curators, as represented by the online database Epact. An examination of the relationship between these instruments and the natural world suggests that the ‘theoric’, familiar from studies of the history of astronomy, has a wider relevance to the domain of practical mathematics. This outcome from a study of collections is then used in re-examining an established question in the history of science, the position of William Gilbert on the motion of the Earth
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DOI 10.1017/s000708740300503x
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State of the Field: Paper Tools.Boris Jardine - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 64:53-63.
On Scientific Instruments: Introduction to Issue 4.Liba Taub - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (4):337-343.
Kepler’s Optics Without Hypotheses.Sven Dupré - 2012 - Synthese 185 (3):501-525.

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