University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science > Contracting the philosopher’s stone: fraud, risk and profit in early modern alchemy

Contracting the philosopher’s stone: fraud, risk and profit in early modern alchemy

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For the princes who sought to hire alchemists, build laboratories, and fund substantial alchemical operations in the early modern Holy Roman Empire, the question of fraud was crucial. The possibility of hiring a false alchemist rather than a real one haunted princely desires to put alchemy into practice, yet patrons had few obvious resources for determining whether or not an individual was a fraud (or Betrüger). In this paper, I will examine the methods alchemical patrons and practitioners devised to minimize risk, as well as the consequences of those methods for the practice and meaning of alchemy in early modern central Europe.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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