Variation and change in the writings of 17th century scientists

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The paper investigates changes of the genre ‘science’ in the 17th century. The method of multidimensional analysis applied to two texts of the first and to four texts of the second half of the 17th century stops a methodological and a chronological gap. On the dimensions ‘narrative vs non-narrative concerns’ and ‘overt expression of persuasion’, hypotheses of earlier studies about later developments are supplemented, on the dimension ‘abstract vs non-abstract style’, earlier hypotheses are supported, and on the dimensions ‘involved vs informational production’ and ‘elaborate vs situation-dependent reference’, earlier hypotheses about developments between the second half of the 16th and the second half of the 17th century are refuted. A complementary text type analysis reveals that the science texts of the corpus represent the two text types ‘involved topical argumentation’ and ‘producer-oriented narrative’. The former predominates in the first, the latter in the second half of the 17th century.


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