The Curiosa

Justin E. H. Smith in his blog:

6a00d83453bcda69e201a73dff098a970d-400wiI, being sick of an Ague, have come out to Country for a change of Air. But in truth I am not so sick at all, and I embrace this circumstance with whole Heart, for it enables me to pursue, as is my true Vocation, still further Observations touching upon divers questions of Natural Philosophy.

The Duke, when he comes galloping through England between diplomatic missions to Vienna and Constantinople, makes light of my inquiries, and says mockingly how good it is that Philosophy now includes matters suitable for Ladies too. There was no room for the feminine sex in the Schools and their endless debates about the Quiddity of this and the Thisness of that, he laughs, but how fitting for a Duchess, with leisure to spare, to look with her magnifying Lens at the industry of Silkworms, at the fine detail of the leg of a Flea, or to place two such Lenses together within a Tube, and to look out at the Heavens, to chart the Eclipse of the Moon or to follow the path of a shooting Star.

But the Duke cannot see past his own Nose, I tell him, for in truth such matters were always of great concern to the Philosopher. For did Aristotle himself not wade in the Tides, searching for ever new forms of Corral, of Medusae and Polypi? Did he not describe the formation of Clouds and other Meteors, and the fatty exhalations of earth that we call Comets? No, ‘tis the Schools that shrank Philosophy down to the mere quarrel over Words, distorting the legacy of the great Aristotle, while neglecting altogether the work of Hippocrates, the Elder Pliny, Isidore of Seville. As if these too were not Philosophers! What these men possess, and the discoursers uponQuiddity lack, I believe, is Curiosity. Those discoursers suffer from Wind. They do not hunger for the World, nor have they Appetite for the astounding and infinite diversity of its Particulars.

More here.