© 2013

The Natural philosophy of Emanuel Swedenborg

A Study in the Conceptual Metaphors of the Mechanistic World-View

  • Comprehensive study of Emanuel Swedenborg's mechanistic worldview and metaphorical way of thinking up to the year 1734

  • New perspective of the mechanistic philosophy of the 17th and 18th century: the cognitive metaphors of the mind and its role in the formation of scientific theories

  • Casts new light on Swedenborg's later spiritual philosophy and doctrine of correspondences

  • Winner of the Pro Lingua Translation Award for promoting eminent Swedish research?


Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 11)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. David Dunér
    Pages 1-36
  3. David Dunér
    Pages 37-75
  4. David Dunér
    Pages 77-127
  5. David Dunér
    Pages 129-206
  6. David Dunér
    Pages 207-278
  7. David Dunér
    Pages 279-302
  8. David Dunér
    Pages 303-351
  9. David Dunér
    Pages 353-383
  10. David Dunér
    Pages 385-416
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 417-473

About this book


Although Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) is commonly known for his spiritual philosophy, his early career was focused on natural science. During this period, Swedenborg thought the world was like a gigantic machine, following the laws of mechanics and geometry. This volume analyses this mechanistic world-view from the cognitive perspective, by means of a study of the metaphors in Swedenborg’s texts. The author argues that these conceptual metaphors are vital skills of the creative mind and scientific thinking, used to create visual analogies and abstract ideas. This means that Swedenborg’s mechanistic and geometrical world-view allowed him to perceive the world as mechanical and geometrical. Swedenborg thought "with" books and pens. The reading gave him associations and clues, forced him to interpret, and gave him material for his intellectual development.


Cognitive history Early modern science Emanuel Swedenborg Mechanistic philosophy Metaphors in science Swedenborg Swedenborg Principles of Chemistry Swedenborg principia Swedenborg principles and mineralogical Swedenborg science Swedenborg's brain World Machine

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1., PhilosophyLund University, History of ScienceLundSweden

Bibliographic information