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title SUMMARY /title

The essay aims at addressing the debates on corpuscular theories in Rome within the context of the political and religious tensions of the late 17th century.

Documents in the archives of the Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede allow us to outline the changing attitudes of the Church of Rome towards atomistic philosophy and to highlight the factional clashes within Roman institutions on the issue. These dynamics gave way to the Congresso Medico Romano of G. Brasavola and G.M. Lancisi, an academy which soon became the promoting agent of an eclectic corpuscular medicine.

The Holy Office put the success of the moderns into question in 1690, after Alexander VIII had come to the throne. The attack was part of a general repression of atomism (also in Naples and Florence) but also of quietism and freethinking.

Despite the crisis, the moderns were able to bind their corpuscularism to a strictly defined epistemological model. In the frame of the contemporary biomedical sciences, questions on the ultimate nature of atoms could be abandoned without dismissing the corpuscular theory and practice of medicine.

Affiliations: 1: Universit La Sapienza Roma


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