Talking Fish

Of Electric Fish

At the extreme, there were two opposite conceptions. One was based on the idea that any transmission must necessarily imply the propagation of some form of  corpuscular matter; the other was founded on the notion that qualities or forces could be transmitted without any actual passage of matter. In the latter conception, the qualities or forces were considered attributes (or forms) of the matter, wither inorganic or organic. By themsleves, the qualities or forces were deviod of any spatial diimension or configuration, and thus they lacked any physical substantiality. To use Galen’s phrase, they were located in the “entire substance” of the body posseessing them.

The transmission of the power of the torpedo, together with magnetic attraction-two phenomena relatively easy to verefy but very difficult to interpret- are reccuring issues in Galens writtings and in the Problematca within the discussion about “un-nameable” qualities and, more generally about transmission at a distance


My bookshelve is extremly light in terms of classical philosophy, so I have to grab what I have to hand, my sense of vision is somewhat late 17th century and linked to second sight and I don’t even want to glance or think about what I have in this context at the moment.

I should be looking at sympatheia but as I am having to digest Plotinus’s metaphysics alongside this, which is like trying to read Greek while standing upside down in a revolving room, I need a break.

Slight fishy diversion, as I can get a sense of what Plotinus shares and where he differs to a degree. Or at least make a start.

I also need to get a grasp of how modern academics alter the inflection of these ideas and also a sense of the historical issues associated with science history.



S. Finger, M. Piccolino: The Shocking History of Electric Fishes From Ancient Epochs To the Birth of Modern Neurphysiology

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