Epistemology of Immaterial Causes (Topoi D-4-2)
How the idea of final causality in nature was connected with the idea of a world soul as a medium, in medieval natural philosophy and in early modern mechanics? How the causal relationship between body and soul was mediated by instruments like a spiritus, a paracelsian archeus, or a plastic nature, comparable to the world soul, and which role these aerial or spiritual media were playing in eschatology? Which natural skills, situated in these media were remaining, after the body was taken away? By a chain of paradigmatical studies, the project was able to demonstrate, how strongly explanatory models of individual body-and-soul-relationships in medieval and early modern philosophy and physics were connected with cosmological models. Starting with natural philosophers of the 12th or 13th century like Bernardus Silvestris, William of Auvergne oder Albertus Magnus, the scope of research was extended towards early modern paracelsists, university physics of the 16th and 17th century and early modern theories of magnetism.