HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 16 no. 1 (2015)

Husbandry Tradition and the Emergence of Vegetable Philosophy in the Hartlib Circle

Oana Matei

Discipline: Philosophy



The aim of this paper is to analyse the transformation of a tradition of husbandry from moral and political philosophy to natural magic and technology. In the early 1640s there was a shift of approach in the Hartlib Circle from the ecclesiastical peace projects to the more experimental and practical projects of husbandry and vegetable philosophy. The discipline of vegetable philosophy defined a new field of interest, which could connect the Baconian tradition of experimentation, the desire to compile natural histories, and the dedication to the open character of knowledge and human benefits. I will claim that vegetable philosophy, although operational and practical, and based on the production of transferable technologies, is still grounded on a set of metaphysical assumptions.