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Renaissance Meteorology

, 224 pages

3 b&w illus.

October 2011



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Usually ships 2-3 business days after receipt of order.

Renaissance Meteorology

Pomponazzi to Descartes

Craig Martin takes a careful look at how Renaissance scientists analyzed and interpreted rain, wind, and other natural phenomena like meteors and earthquakes and their impact on the great thinkers of the scientific revolution.

Martin argues that meteorology was crucial to the transformation that took place in science during the early modern period. By examining the conceptual foundations of the subject, Martin links Aristotelian meteorology with the new natural philosophies of the seventeenth century. He argues that because meteorology involved conjecture and observation and forced attention to material and efficient causation, it paralleled developments in the natural philosophies of Descartes and other key figures of the scientific revolution.

Although an inherently uncertain endeavor, forecasting the weather was an extremely useful component not just of scientific study, but also of politics, courtly life, and religious doctrine. Martin explores how natural philosophers of the time participated in political and religious controversies by debating the meanings, causes, and purposes of natural disasters and other weather phenomena.

Through careful readings of an impressive range of texts, Martin situates the history of meteorology within the larger context of Renaissance and early modern science. The first study on Renaissance theories of weather in five decades, Renaissance Meteorology offers a novel understanding of traditional natural philosophy and its impact on the development of modern science.

Craig Martin is an assistant professor of history at Oakland University.

"A wonderful book on the thoughts and beliefs of Renaissance scientists regarding the weather and other issues of meteorology."

"Well argued and well researched, this work is an essential view of Renaissance science and philosophy. Highly recommended."

"For readers interested in the HOPOS as it relates to Aristotelianism and the novatores of the early modern period, we believe Renaissance Meteorology is nothing less than required reading."

"This book enriches our understanding of early modern natural philosophy. It challenges us to re-evaluate the reception of Aristotle in an area of study that saw renewed emphasis on experience and denied a deep knowledge of the formal and final causes."

"In this work, Martin writes in a cohesive and generally understandable manner... This work could be the starting point for further inquiries into early modern meteorological thought."

"Martin's study of Aristotle's Meteorology, its continuities and transformations, and its profound influence on the emergence of modern science is a valuable contribution to knowledge and makes a splendid introduction to the subject."

"This is an important book, and one that will no doubt become a reference in the field; while not uselessly lengthy, reading and appreciating the subtlety and nuances of its approach may require an effort on the part of the non-specialist reader -- well-rewarded by the richness of the innovative image of early modern science that it offers."

"Craig Martin's study sheds light on a subject area that has received relatively little attention within wider interpretations of the processes of the 'scientific revolution', and the place of Aristotelianism within these. Yet, as Martin persuasively argues, scholarly meteorology... had unique dimensions which makes it a particularly valuable lens through which to analyse the transition of these processes across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries."

" Renaissance Meteorology is a pioneering work aiming to fill a gap in the scholarship on the natural philosophy of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries... Historians of the Renaissance will welcome this book as a well researched and noteworthy addition to the literature... For taking up this project with estimable scholarly command and making it relevant for the study of the natural philosophy of the period, the community of Renaissance studies owes its gratitude to the author."

"This fascinating subject has hitherto received little attention and Martin's book makes a valuable contribution to filling this gap... In this volume Martin fully achieves his stated aim of using meteorology to positively reassess the creativity and historical significance of Renaissance Aristotelianism, and the book is certainly of great interest for historians of philosophy."

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