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Corpuscularianism is the postulate, expounded in a predominant manner by the thirteenth-century Italian Franciscan alchemist Geber (a name modeled on Jabir ibn Hayyan (721-815)), that all physical bodies possess an inner and outer layer of minute particles or corpuscles. Corpuscularianism is similar to the theory atomism, except that where atoms were supposed to be indivisible, corpuscles could in principle be divided. In this manner, for example, it was theorized that mercury could penetrate into metals and modify their inner structure, a step on the way towards transmutative production of gold. Corpuscularianism was associated by its leading proponents with the idea that some of the properties that objects appear to have are artifacts of the perceiving mind: 'secondary' qualities as distinguished from 'primary' qualities. Corpuscularianism stayed a dominant theory over the next several hundred years and was blended with alchemy by those as Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton in the 17th century. It was used by Newton, for instance, in his development of the corpuscular theory of light.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Corpuscularianism". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|