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Title: Arguments about space : the uses and transformations of dialectic in cosmology and cosmography (French prose, 1575-1632)
Author: Garrod, Raphaële Simone
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2011
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This dissertation descries specific instances of the making and dissemination in vernacular French texts of the Scientific Revolution’s debates in cosmology and cosmography. In this thesis, I read cosmological and cosmographical arguments as they appear in five texts by means of the loci, that is, the places of argument of dialectical invention. Dialectical invention was studied in logic and in rhetoric. The first chapter of this thesis retraces the history of dialectical invention and its relation to natural philosophy, the discipline under which cosmology and cosmography were subsumed in the scholastic curriculum. The loci account for the logic, but also for the rhetorical effectiveness and poetic consistency of the cosmological and cosmographical arguments elaborated or echoed in the selected corpus of vernacular French texts. Reading this corpus by means of the loci thus makes a case for the central role of dialectic in the argumentative processes which informed the series of epistemological changes known as the Scientific Revolution. Rejuvenated by humanism, dialectic was not merely confined to scholastic disputations but also permeated the vernacular elaboration and dissemination of these epistemological changes: a dissemination ensured by text which, as shown in the corpus, were not all cosmological or cosmographical treatises. The first part of this dissertation describes this elaboration and dissemination in cosmology in two chapters, whereas the next two chapters of the second part focus on cosmography. The texts studied are either canonical ones, such as Michel de Montaigne’s ‘Apologie de Raimond Sebond’ (Essais, 2.12, written between 1572 and 1592), and René Descartes’ Le Monde (written between 1630 and 1633, first published posthumously in 1664), or less well-known ones, whose representative status, this dissertation argues, has been overlooked. These include François de Belleforest’s Cosmographie universelle (published in 1575), a translation, or rather, a rewriting of Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia (international Latin edition published in 1550), Pierre de La Primaudaye’s Académie françoise (four volumes published between 1577 and 1598) and Etienne Binet’s Essay des merveilles de nature et des plus nobles artificies (published in 1621).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available