I notice after a walk in the rain the way I am using conjecture and speculation at the moment.
The evidence I have is limited and fractured, a collection of loosely related 17th century figures who have grown rather optimistic about the study of second sight.
Perspectives surrounding medicine and in particular late 17th century perspectives on mental illness are an obstacle to that optimism and a significant line of attack.
What would a defence of the subject look like from this perspective?
I have some idea what this argument looks like. But as the subject is altering and I don’t have the insight of a late 17th century perspective and education I am almost certainly missing aspects.
Here I can speculate that some of the features of late 17th century debate may have a relationship with modern ones. I find myself doing with a late 17th century texts as I would with a modern one, scan for contemporary buzz words, look at them in wider context.
It seems to be a human phenomena to feel that answers will be provided by recourse to the latest solutions and technology. Although often not the solutions of rivals in the same field. Developing new ground where objections may be raised is useful here, it also fuels further investigation by all parties, does the subject have to be embraced or rejected?
The empirical evidence base regarding second sight, is subject to a range of attacks. The ethnographic evidence and field work could be dismissed simply by describing the subject and mind that forms the basis for investigation as disordered and irrational.
If you have a strong argument to make it presupposes you have a certain optimism about being able to defend it.
Does late 17th century medicine have any particular features that would give a 17th century researcher grounds to think he could win an argument?