Systema Physicum Septimi Libris Adornatum

1610 Scarce Physics, Astronomy & Natural Philosophy

Year 1610
Edition FIRST
Pages 1064
Binding Leather
Condition Fair
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Arnd Hafredei & Guilelmi Antonii, Hanover, 1610. FIRST EDITION Landmark physics/astronomy tome. Fair condition, complete except for missing preliminaries incl. title, last two sheets loose but in place, front leather missing, rear cover still tightly bound. An extremely important and scarce publication covering the topics of physics, astronomy, and natural philosophy. Former owner inscription in interesting handwriting of the period.

"Keckermann’s Systema physicum, a set of lectures delivered in 1607 and published in 1610, discussed physics, astronomy, and natural philosophy, all in largely Aristotelian terms. The author differed from most Peripatetics by describing the four elements as less complete and perfect in form than the mixed bodies. Since elements are not completely and individually sui generis, Keckermann found it plausible that they should be capable of rapid transmutation into one another. The long discussion of comets has a theological flavor, which is not surprising in view of Keckermann’s religious training and devotion. Comets are conventionally defined as terrestrial exhalations produced by action of the planets in the supreme aerial region. God then encourages angels, or permits demons, to join with the comet in producing extraordinary terrestrial effects. God’s unpredictable choice of angels or demons for the task explains the good and bad effects of comets, although some allowance must be made for the comet’s relation to the stars and planets. Predominantly, however, the effects of comets are malign and indicate divine wrath. There are serious gaps and errors in the Systema physicum. The vacuum is not adequately discussed in terms of Aristotelian motion and place. Keckermann also maintained that water contracts when frozen. This mistake was criticized in 1618 by Isaac Beeckman, who remarked that either a simple experiment or common sense would have exposed the fallacy. Keckermann’s use of experiment—or, rather, of experience—is in fact very crude and imprecise. 1064 pages.