The big book of fish turns up tomorrow. On first sight fish electricity and its related history may seem slightly off topic.
One of the chief objections to establishing the study of second sight, which it was claimed would open up a new branch of philosophy, was the idea that it was the result of illness, an unhealthy sympathy betwixt a disordered gut and the brain.
Plot looks as if he is either ruling out mechanical discharge as a hypothesis in his observation on pregnancy and its effects on both male and female bodies or is certainly suggesting that that the situation is complex and requires more investigation.
These theories surrounding pregnancy are a way in for me to start to examine the wider medical history here and also how it is altering in this period.
Descriptions in some of the Scottish texts most notably Kirk’s Secret Commonwealth seem to take an interest in related hypothesis.
Use an examination of fish and pregnancy as basis for establishing an understanding of the subject before investigating the relationship of the mechanical and the nature of occult properties with Second sight in Scotland.
One aspect I have grown interested in from reading is how the observations and practises of late 17th century philosophy and chemistry are experienced in every day life and embedded within cultural experience.
Many of the objects discussed are far removed from that experience. How do you make the subject real and tangible? This does seem to be an idea that early experimenters entertained with some care and carried out in practise. Teaching and demonstration a part of the over- all package.
The new sciences were not simply to be a passive experience based on mediating and consuming the authoritative voice of the new genius they were to be engaged with and experienced directly in this ‘new republic of letters’ and learning.