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Experiment, Observation, Self-observation. Empiricism and the ‘Rea-
sonable Physicians’ of the Early Enlightenment

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes the mechanisms of empirical data collection in medicine and psychology in the early Enlightenment by means of experiment, observation and self-observation, while associating them with their discursive forms of representation. The combination of empirical and discursive anthropotechniques leads to explanations on the anthropoietics of the Enlightenment; i.e., the question of how the habitus of man was shaped around 1750. The chapter considers the texts of four German 'reasonable physicians': Friedrich Hoffmann (1660-1742), Johann Gottlieb Krüger (1715-1759), Andreas Elias Büchner (1701-1769) and Johann August Unzer (1727-1799). Hoffmann's epistemological model, theory and empiricism are correlated to one another. According to Hoffmann, observation and writing form a recursive system of operations that support and reinforce one another. It is centered around an extensive list of topics that determine the observatio as a concept that comprises of ambiguity, event and narration, all at the same time.

Keywords: empiricism; epistemological model; Friedrich Hoffmann; Johann August Unzer; psychology; reasonable physicians

10.1163/9789004268135_008
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