2014 | 20 | 29-40
Article title

Sposoby widzenia. Optyka w służbie oświeceniowego racjonalisty

Title variants
Methods of Seeing. Optics in the Service of the Rationalist from the Enlightenment
Languages of publication
“Seeing is to some extent an art to be learned” (William Herschel). Thanks to the new optical tools human perceptual capabilities greatly increased. Cognitive standards have also changed. “The magical glasses” began to modify the image of reality, so the science could deal with objects that had never seen before. The use of a telescope to study celestial bodies caused that universe gained an extra dimension that had to be tamed and explained. My text refers to the impact that the development of optics has on perception of the world in the Age of Lights. I try to show when and how optical devices, assisting the reason in explaining and rationalizing supernatural phenomena, allowed people in the Enlightenment – in literal and figurative sense – to see through, eventually becoming an attribute of the rationalist from this period. The analysis is focused on selected literary and “utility” texts (Jan Bohomolec ’s "Diabeł w swojej postaci"), in which popular instruments (the microscope) and optical phenomena (such as an optical illusion) in the eighteenth century appear.
  • Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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