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Mediums and Science in Early 20th Century Europe

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Filippo Bottazzi and His Method of Graphic Recording

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This paper investigates and contextualizes the contribution made by the Italian physiologist Filippo Bottazzi (1867–1941) to research on mediumistic phenomena in Europe at the beginning of the 1900s, focusing on his investigation of the claims of Eusapia Palladino’s powers, a well-known Italian physical medium who inspired the “conversion” of Cesare Lombroso. Bottazzi’s work, conducted between 1906 and 1909, is compared to that of colleagues in Italy and elsewhere and analysed in the light of the scientific methodology that he used in his research as a physiologist. This paper will review the events that led Bottazzi to take an interest in mediumship, and analyse how he designed and conducted his experiments and the conclusions that he drew from them. Particular attention will be focused on the methods and the scientific instruments that he used in his psychical research, which were in keeping with his Positivist epistemological views, as is shown by an essay on the scientific method that he wrote in the same period.

Affiliations: 1: Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”, Italy


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