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Picture of The Singular and the Making of Knowledge at the Royal Society of London in the Eighteenth Century

The Singular and the Making of Knowledge at the Royal Society of London in the Eighteenth Century

Author(s): Palmira Fontes da Costa

Book Description

The central subject of this book is the status of singular experiences in the making of natural knowledge at the Royal Society of London in the eighteenth century. It makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the importance of the reporting and display of extraordinary phenomena at the Royal Society in this period, and shows that the success of these practices was largely based on their multiple roles within the Society, where singular experiences not only promoted natural historical and medical knowledge but also played a social and epistemological role. However, singular experiences were problematic in terms of authentication and the book reveals how eighteenth-century literary satires made the Royal Society an easy and favoured target for their interest in them. The book demonstrates the variety and intricacy of elements involved in the making and circulation of natural knowledge in the period. It provides an interdisciplinary and innovative approach to the place of the singular in one of the oldest and most import scientific institutions in the world.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-0357-1
ISBN-10: 1-4438-0357-X
Date of Publication: 01/04/2009
Pages / Size: 230 / A5
Price: £39.99


Palmira Fontes da Costa is an Assistant Professor of History of Science at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. She earned her doctorate at Cambridge University. Her research interests include the history of natural history and medicine from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, science and gender, science and ethics, and science and the visual arts. She is the author of multiple articles and the editor of Ciência e Bioarte: Encruzilhadas e desafios Éticos/Science and Bioart: Crossroads and Ethical Challenges (Lisboa: Caleidoscópio, 2007) and O Corpo Insólito: Dissertações sobre Monstros no Portugal do século XVIII Portugal (Porto: Porto Editora, 2005).