Pico, Paracelsus, and Dee: The Magical Measure of Human Perfectibility

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Astral magic may be considered one of the most poignant creative modes of the imagination through which human excellence is conceived as an attribute of celestial powers believed to animate the world. Coluccio Salutati in De laboribus Herculis argues that human perfectibility through the acquisition of “enlightened knowledge” is dependent on uniting one's self with the primary feminine creative power of all nine Muses, not through the agency of reason but through the imagination. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola believed that the divine spirit operated in the natural world as the universal cause of all motion and life, which justified the human aspiration for perfectibility through the agency of the spiritus mundi made accessible through the imagination. Paracelsus argues that most of nature's secrets are beyond the scope of empirical reason and natural philosophy. John Dee argues that mathematical reasoning disciplines the imagination to create a “perfect demonstration of truths” and provides a sublime knowledge of the operation of nature.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender and Scientific Discourse in Early Modern Culture
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781317130574
ISBN (Print)9780754669715
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The editor and contributors 2010.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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