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Ideological Hesitancy in Spain 1700-1750$
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Ivy L. McClelland

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780853230977

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317323

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The Vulgo-Conception of Scientific Evidence

The Vulgo-Conception of Scientific Evidence

(p.58) Chapter 3 The Vulgo-Conception of Scientific Evidence
Ideological Hesitancy in Spain 1700-1750
Liverpool University Press

Several terms referring to the nature of scientific evidence became liable to misinterpretation in contemporary usage and intensified debates. In Spain, the folk-scientist Torres Villarroel and his peers promoted misleading adjectives such as ‘demonstrable’, ‘experimental’, and ‘practical’. Subjective notions of demonstrable evidence were part of a mind pattern that arose from a combination of certain selected principles of old philosophy and of new rationalism. This pattern was evident in many scientific disciplines such as applied science, medicine, and ‘astrological astronomy’. For intelligent, semi-ilustrados, ‘evidence’ could mean systematised classification of the facts of exterior observation that were partially or wholly unrelated to observations. Such ‘evidence’ was associated with the limited explanations of inherited medical dogma.

Keywords:   Spain, scientific evidence, Torres Villarroel, philosophy, rationalism, semi-ilustrados, observations, medicine, astrological astronomy

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