Domenico Bertoloni Meli, Machines of the Body in the 17th Century

Le labex TransferS et l’USR République des Savoirs invitent, du 02 au 31 mai, le Professeur Domenico Bertoloni Meli – Professeur d’Histoire et de philosophie des sciences à l’Indiana University, Bloomington (États-Unis).

The 17th century was arguably the golden age of mechanistic anatomy. At the time mechanics was being transformed both conceptually and practically, with the introduction of new notions and devices. Whereas in antiquity the lever was the main mechanical device, by the 17th century pendulums, springs, hygrometers, thermometers, barometers, and air pumps emerged and often took center stage. My talk investigates how these and other devices transformed the understanding of the body and interacted with anatomical and more broadly naturalistic investigations. In other words, I try to argue that mechanistic anatomy was transformed conceptually and also because the park of mechanical tools and devices was in a state of profound transformations at the time.