Defining nature's limits: prosecuting magic in sixteenth-century Italy

Giambattista della Porta

Public history of science lecture by Dr Neil Tarrant.

Event details

Magic and science have traditionally been considered to have little in common.  Yet for many sixteenth-century intellectuals, including churchmen, practising magic was based upon highly sophisticated knowledge of the natural world.  For ecclesiastical censors the key issue was determining which magical practices were 'natural' and which required the assistance of demons.  In this lecture I argue that attempts to define legitimate magical practices required determining which phenomena were naturally possible, and this in turn helped to demarcate the acceptable limits of scientific expression.

Attending this event

This event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required. Doors open at 12:30pm and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
 
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Defining nature's limits: prosecuting magic in sixteenth-century Italy 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK

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  • The interaction of fire and mankind 14 September 2015 at The Royal Society, London Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Andrew Scott, Professor William Chaloner FRS, Professor Claire Belcher and Dr Chris Roos
  • The interaction of fire and mankind - further discussion 16 September 2015 at The Royal Society at Chicheley Hall, home of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, Buckinghamshire Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Andrew Scott, Professor William Chaloner FRS, Dr Claire Belcher and Professor Chris Roos
  • Open House Weekend 2015 19 September 2015 at The Royal Society, London The Royal Society's building will be open to the public on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September 2015.

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