Clerks and craftsmen in pre-industrial Europe #3

Summary of lecture no 3 "The influence of arts and crafts on the theories of matter from Antiquity to the 16th century"

1. The main problem of the theories of matter: the quest of simplicity i.e. of the original constitutive parts.

- Qualitative simplicity: the elements
- Quantitative simplicity: atoms and corpuscles

2. The question of the elements

2.1. Matter as apprehended by craftsmen
2.2. The theory of the four elements as the philosophical superstructure of a technological system
2.3. The four elements challenged by alchemical laboratory practice. The sulphur quicksilver theory.
2.4. The evolution of distillation and its consequences on the theory of the elements

3. The technical origins of atomistic philosophy

3.1. Atomism of the engineers and the question of the void.
3.2. Atomism of the alchemists from pseudo Geber to Isaac Newton
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