German receptions of the works of Joseph Glanvill: philosophical transmissions from England to Germany in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century
Source TitleIntellectual History Review
University of Melbourne Author/sDavies, Julie
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsDAVIES, J, German receptions of the works of Joseph Glanvill: philosophical transmissions from England to Germany in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, Intellectual History Review, 2016, pp. 81 - 90
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The Royal Society of London, founded for the collaborative advancement of knowledge of the natural world, was famous for its advocacy of experimental scientific methodologies in the late seventeenth century. The product of an intellectual climate which produced some of the most influential thinkers of the age, the Royal Society is often credited with leading the development of the modern scientific method. Indeed, this view was perpetuated by the Society itself through the propagandistic works it commissioned, particularly: Thomas Sprat’s History of the Royal Society (1667) and Joseph Glanvill’s Plus ultra (1668). In this paper, I will trace the reactions of some of Germany’s pre-eminent philosophers, including Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Jakob Thomasius and his son, Christian Thomasius and Georg Daniel Morhof to the Plus ultra. In the process, I will consider how this work, and the Royal Society more broadly, is represented in several discourses, which were significant to the development of German philosophy. Then, I will explore how Glanvill’s philosophical reputation in this context is connected to the later spread of the German translation of his Saducismus triumphatus (1701). As yet, little is known about Glanvill’s influence beyond England, and work on this subject is perhaps of most significance to the development of a comprehensive understanding of the impact of his work. Nevertheless, tracing the influence of his works in German debates also provides an interesting perspective on the German reactions to the Royal Society’s experimental method and its relationship to the supernatural.
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