THE MEDICINE OF THE SOUL AND THE BACONIAN LEGACY IN EARLY MODERN CONTEXT
Sorana Corneanu, Regimens of the Mind: Boyle, Locke, and the Early Modern Cultura Animi Tradition (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011), ISBN-13: 978-0-226-11639-6, pp. VII+301
Recent years have witnessed an increase in the number of scholarly works concerned with one particular aspect of the early modern period. This important feature can best be summarized as the anthropological core of the early modern experimental enterprise. Specific perspectives on human nature and implicitly on the human affective and cognitive constitution were fundamental in grounding different approaches to the study of nature. Both Stephen Gaukroger and Peter Harrison , for instance, make compelling cases in favor of the view that the early modern natural philosophers’ primary concern was with the limitations of the human cognitive capabilities and the proper methods for knowledge acquisition according to these limitations. This stance eventually led to objectified, institutionalized investigative practices.
Sorana Corneanu’s Regimens of the Mind: Boyle, Locke, and the Early Modern Cultura Animi Tradition fits within this trend and represents a major contribution to the field of early modern studies. The excellence of this book resides not only in the extensive scholarship the author displays in handling a multitude of issues, genres, topics, and authors but also, and most importantly, in the novel insights into the writings of the early modern sages her paradigmatic cultura animi framework occasions. A careful and meticulous reading of the major works of this period, guided by the tradition of the medicine of the soul, sheds new light on luminaries such as Robert Boyle and John Locke.