The French Paracelsians: The Chemical Challenge to Medical and Scientific Tradition in Early Modern France

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 15, 2002 - Medical - 268 pages
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The far-reaching debates arising from the development of chemistry and its application to medicine during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are the subjects of this book. Shortly after the medical authority of Galen had been reestablished in the Renaissance, the Swiss-German firebrand, Paracelsus, proposed a new approach to natural philosophy and medicine utilizing chemistry. The resulting arguments between Paracelsians and Galenists lasted for more than a century and affected the medical establishments of every European country. In France, the confrontation was particularly bitter, with the Medical Faculty in Paris determined to block the introduction of chemistry to medicine in any field. The author discusses these issues not only with respect to pharmaceutical chemistry and the chemical cosmology of the Paracelsians, but also the development of chemical physiology and its struggle with the brand of medicine influenced by the mechanical philosophy of the seventeenth century. The academic acceptance of chemistry is revealed, and the triumph of the mechanists in the scientific academies is shown to have been only partial at best, because the learned journals of the early eighteenth century continued to review large numbers of books inspired by medical chemistry. This persistent interest in medical chemistry is shown to be significant to the Chemical Revolution and an aspect of the Scientific Revolution that deserves recognition by historians.
  

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Contents

Paracelsism and medical tradition
1
The chemical philosophy
8
Educational reform and the growth
15
Conclusion
44
The chemical philosophy and the new philosophy
65
Medical chemistry and Paracelsism in the 1630s
74
Guy de la Brosse and the Jardin des Plantes
80
The triumph of antimony
95
The alchemical tradition
119
Chemical physiology
134
the chemical
156
The eighteenthcentury French Paracelso
164
the Academie
173
Conclusion
181
Bibliography
209
Index
237

Chemical continuity and the new philosophy
102

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