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Philosophy Commons

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2014

History

History Undergraduate Theses

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The Memetic Evolution Of Alchemy From Zosimos To Timothy Leary, Ryan J. Hutchinson May 2014

The Memetic Evolution Of Alchemy From Zosimos To Timothy Leary, Ryan J. Hutchinson

History Undergraduate Theses

The subject of alchemy is often only relegated to a footnote of the history of modern chemistry. When framed as a discussion of the history of ideas and mankind attempting to understand their position in the universe, the language of alchemy is seen present in the writings of ancient Greece to 20th century counterculture. But how did this obscure art survive such a long journey over time and space? This paper explores alchemy as a meme (as defined by Richard Dawkins) that changed over time to fit the needs of its proponents. We find that the ideas in alchemy had ...