Bryan Robinson (1680-1754), theories of respiration, and the atmospheric acids of Sir Isaac Newton

Roos, Anna Marie (2004) Bryan Robinson (1680-1754), theories of respiration, and the atmospheric acids of Sir Isaac Newton. Eighteenth-Century Thought, 2 (1). pp. 180-204. ISSN 1545-0449

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Abstract

The Irish physician and mathematician Bryan Robinson (1680-1754) was a
student of Richard Helsham, and served as anatomical lecturer and Regius Professor
of Physic at Trinity College, Dublin. Robinson's son Robert also became a lecturer at
the college in Anatomy. Bryan Robinson was three times president of the King and
Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland, and was a trustee of Steevens' Hospital. He
wrote several treatises of Newtonian medicine: the Treatise of the Animal Oeconomy,
a work of physiological mechanism (1734); Observations on the Virtues and Operations of Medicines (1752); A Dissertation on the Food and Discharges of
Human Bodies (1747), an argument against Sanctorius and his theory of insensible
perspiration using Newtonian principles.

Past scholarly analysis has portrayed Robinson's work in the context of two intellectual influences - first, Leiden physician Hermann Boerhaave's (1668-1730)
emphasis on the hydraulics of bodily fluids through the veins and arteries; and second, a 'Newtonian physiology' based on Newton's queries about ether. Despite these analyses, there has been little study of Robinson's 'chymical'
theories of medicine in his works, particularly his use of Newtonian chymistry drawn
from Newton's Opticks (1730) and De natura acidorum (1710). Nor has there been detailed consideration to what extent Robinson's ideas helped spread Newtonian philosophy in Dublin in the eighteenth century, or the nature of his intellectual and social networks in the city. Using archival material in Trinity College Dublin, the Royal Society of Physicians in Dublin, as well as Robinson's works in the Worth
Library, this paper rectifies these omissions in the scholarly literature.

Additional Information:The journal where this article is housed no longer exists, and the author cannot get a reprint. The material is covered in the book: The Salt of the Earth: Natural Philosophy, Medicine, and Chymistry in England, 1650-1750. It is on google books, and it published by Brill http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=PA1p5G7Z9DcC&dq=salt+of+the+earth+roos&source=gbs_navlinks_s
Keywords:Bryan Robinson, Isaac Newton, Iatrochemistry, Irish Medicine
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V211 Irish History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V143 Modern History 1700-1799
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V381 History of Physics
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:8180
Deposited On:21 Mar 2013 16:16

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