Evidence in the Age of the New Sciences

  • James A.T. Lancaster
  • Richard Raiswell

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. James A. T. Lancaster, Richard Raiswell
    Pages 1-29
  3. Methods of Evidence

  4. Sources & Instruments of Evidence

  5. Assessing & Assimilating Evidence in Its Contexts

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 295-309

About this book


The motto of the Royal Society—Nullius in verba—was intended to highlight the members’ rejection of received knowledge and the new place they afforded direct empirical evidence in their quest for genuine, useful knowledge about the world. But while many studies have raised questions about the construction, reception and authentication of knowledge, Evidence in the Age of the New Sciences is the first to examine the problem of evidence at this pivotal moment in European intellectual history. What constituted evidence—and for whom? Where might it be found? How should it be collected and organized? What is the relationship between evidence and proof? These are crucial questions, for what constitutes evidence determines how people interrogate the world and the kind of arguments they make about it.

In this important new collection, Lancaster and Raiswell have assembled twelve studies that capture aspects of the debate over evidence in a variety of intellectual contexts. From law and theology to geography, medicine and experimental philosophy, the chapters highlight the great diversity of approaches to evidence-gathering that existed side by side in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In this way, the volume makes an important addition to the literature on early science and knowledge formation, and will be of particular interest to scholars and advanced students in these fields.


Evidence in Early Modern Europe Early Modern Conceptions of Proof Early Modern Science Early Modern Information Revolution Early Modern Conceptions of Truth Early Modern Natural Philosophy Social History of the Scientific Revolution Social History of Knowledge Legal Proof and Probability Intellectual Evidence Descartes’ Therapeutics Descartes’ Scientific Method of Doubt Instruments of Evidence and Observation Robert Fludd’s philosophy Magical and Mechanical Evidence Automata of Francesco I de’ Medici Confessional Geography Hutchinsonianism Newtonian Science The Reception of Alvise Cornaro’s La Vita Sobria

Editors and affiliations

  • James A.T. Lancaster
    • 1
  • Richard Raiswell
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Advanced Studies in the HumanitiesUniversity of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Department of HistoryUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada

Bibliographic information