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Filippo Buonanni and the Kircher Museum

Ashley J. Inglehart
Ashley J. Inglehart
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University, Ballentine Hall 644, 1020 E. Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA
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Publication history
30 November 201725 May 2018


This paper investigates the role played by Italian naturalist, Filippo Buonanni (1638–1723), in the reorganization of the Kircher Museum. Specifically, it considers Buonanni’s unique philosophy of nature, which can be gleaned from his public debates about spontaneous generation and fossil formation. This paper argues that Buonanni rejected a conformity of causes in nature, which in turn informed his approach to natural history. His unique approach helped to transform Kircher’s collection from a cabinet of wonders to one of the earliest examples of the modern museum.

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GSA Special Papers

Museums at the Forefront of the History and Philosophy of Geology: History Made, History in the Making

Geological Society of America
ISBN electronic:




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