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"The central thesis of this study is that in early modern Europe the viewing and creation of imagery functioned as important instruments of philosophical thought and teaching. Visual representations acted as essential tools for the generation of knowledge. Philosophers understood the vieweing and making of visual representations as cognitive processes, and images often articulated ideas that could not quite be communicated in verbal language. Vision developed into the model of intelligibility, while drawings, prints, and the processes of looking at and designing visual representations became dominant metaphors for understanding human perception and characterizing the manner in which an observer gains and retains knowledge about the world. At the same time, the intense engagement with visual representations was accompanied by lingering doubts about their role in the creation and transmission of philosophical theories;" (p. 2)
"Historians of the early modern era have argued that Europeans experienced an "information explosion" between 1550 and 1750, related to a set of factors that included the rising production of printed books, travel and the discovery of new lands, the retrieval of ancient texts, and a passionate interest in gathering information. Over the last two or three decades, a new area of cultural history has developed that focuses on institutions of knowledge and seeks to understand how information has been organized and managed in the past. Scholars have studied a range of collections and learning aids including reference books, cabinets of curiosities, botanical gardens, archives, and encyclopedias that were employed during the eraly modern period and earlier to manage an overabundance of information." (p. 3)
Susanna Berger, "The Art of Philosophy. Visual Thinking in Europe from the Late Rennaissance to the Early Enlightenment", Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford 2017.