The art of experimental natural history

The art of experimental natural history

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Francis Bacon introduced his contemporaries to a new way of investigating nature. He called it “natural and experimental history.” Despite its rather traditional name, Bacon’s natural and experimental history was a new discipline: it comprised new ideas, new practices and new models of collaborative research. This new discipline was, in many ways, a surprisingly successful project. It provided early modern naturalists with tools, methods and models for both investigating nature and writing about their subject. It also offered a set of norms and values for guiding research. And yet, this new discipline was not a science of nature -- it was more like an art. This book aims to trace the emergence, evolution and reception of Francis Bacon’s art of experimental natural history.

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