3. On the Lability of Natural Entities, at the Example of Raspe’s ‘De novis e mari natis insulis’

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Enrico Pasini


Early-Modern natural philosophy—when, in the inception phase of geology, or the history of the earth, philosophy, theology, natural science and biblical history were still intertwined—can provide us with some examples of an early understanding of the possible extreme lability of apparently rock-solid natural entities. The example that we shall concentrate upon here is Rudolph Erich Raspe, a German geologist and professor of antiquities. To Raspe's way of thinking, the fact that new islands still appeared in the 18th century was proof that, in his present time just as in the past, the Earth was subject to impressive movements and commotions: and so, in an impressive way, even lifeless natural entities could raise, disappear, be born and mutate.


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Enrico Pasini, Università degli Studi di Torino

Dipartimento di Filosofia e Scienze dell'educazione