Francesco Luzzini deposited Through dark and mysterious paths. Early modern science and the search for the origin of springs from the 16thto the 18thcenturies in the group Alchemy on Humanities Commons 5 years, 10 months ago
Since its first attempts to understand natural phenomena, early modern science devoted great attention to the problematic issue of the origin of springs. This essay examines the lively debate that emerged from the studies on fresh water during the years spanning from the mid-sixteenth century to the early eighteenth. By focusing on the interpretations advanced by several authors (including lesser known, but nonetheless important figures such as Mario Bettini, Edward Barlow, and Diacinto Cestoni), and by introducing Antonio Vallisneri’s Primi itineris specimen, an unpublished manuscript which reveals significant insights into the hydrogeological debate, a new analysis is provided of the heterogeneous factors which influenced the path of natural philosophy towards the comprehension of the water cycle. The conclusion suggests how a reconsideration of the intricate backgrounds underlying many scientific debates and concepts could play a critical role in solving a still controversial issue: science’s need for a history of science.