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By Charles Hutton

A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionar is a different sourcebook for historians of arithmetic, astronomy and philosophy. it really is Charles Hutton's such a lot recognized paintings and commonly thought of to be the successor to John Harris's nice Lexicon Technicum, or an common English Dictionary of the humanities and Sciences (1704). initially released in volumes in 1795-6, this expansive medical encyclopedia comprises millions of reasons of phrases and a wealth of biographical details at the significant British and ecu scientists and philosophers. one of the biographical entries, which come with specific bibliographical descriptions, are Berkeley, Huygens, Boyle, Bacon, Gassendi, Flamsteed, Hooke, Brahe, Newton, Galileo and Halley. the various medical phrases are concisely defined and illuminated via examples and illustrations.

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Extra info for A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary: Containing an Explanation of the Terms, and an Account of the Several Subjects, comprized under the heads ( Writings of the most Eminent Authors, etc)

Example text

In this account of how the act of looking contributed to the construction of place, three enduring tropes will be considered. The earliest is the Picturesque comparison of nature to art through repeated idealisation of scenery; it was subsequently joined (though not replaced) by the Romantic quest for ‘authenticity’ and exclusivity of experience. These two seemingly opposed forms of seeing were both largely informed through a third phenomenon, the performative act of walking as aesthetic or recreational pastime, a seemingly informal pursuit that has generated innumerable local representations and guidebooks over the past two and a half centuries.

This was published in 1757 as a major work called A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful. Burke set out a new binary aesthetic system based on a gendered (and implicitly hierarchical) opposition. Though today the distinction may seem quaint, Burke usefully contrasted the feminine properties of Beauty with those of a separate aesthetic category, the masculine Sublime. Whereas Beauty was a physical property of ideal form, the Sublime was an imaginative response to a sudden encounter with a vast phenomenon that momentarily threatened to overwhelm the spectator’s mind; but, after initial ‘astonishment’,4 rationality triumphed and the viewer achieved aesthetic satisfaction as the mind came to terms with the subject.

5 The philosopher Paul Crowther has usefully distinguished between Burke’s theory organised around the positive significance of shock and horror, and the Kantian Sublime whose rational containment of excess leads to transcendence of the mundane self (Crowther 1995, 7). Shifting Scenery The emergence of the relationship between Picturesque landscapes and theories of beauty is also seen in the use of the word ‘scenery’. The OED’s earliest example of this spelling of the older theatrical term ‘scenary’ is 1770, but within seven years painters were using conventions from contemporary stage design to construct lakeside ‘sceneries’ that consisted of a receding series of aesthetic framing devices, that began with foreground sidescreens (coulisses) in the form of bushes, rocks or overarching trees that framed the view.

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