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Conrad Gessner, the Zurich Lectorium, and the study of physics and medicine in the early modern world

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Conrad Gessner’s approach towards the world and mankind was centred on his preoccupation with the human soul, an object of study that had challenged classical writers such as Aristotle and Galen, and which remained as important in post-Reformation debate.⁠ Writing commentaries on Aristotle’s De Anima (On the Soul) was part of early-modern physics education at university and formed the preparatory step for studying medicine. I will use the case study of Gessner’s commentary on De Anima to explore how Gessner’s readers prioritised De Anima’s information. Gessner’s intention was to provide the students of philosophy and medicine with the most current and comprehensive thinking, whether in physics or in medicine. His readers’ responses raise questions about evolving discussions in physics and medicine, and Gessner’s part in helping these develop.

This talk is part of the Cabinet of Natural History series.

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