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ABSTRACT Alchemy is part of the cultural experience of early modern Europe and yet has had to overcome problems of demarcation to be considered relevant to the history of science. This essay considers historiographical and methodological issues that have affected the gradual demarginalization of alchemy among attempts to explain, and find things out about, nature. As an area of historical study, alchemy relates to the history of science as part of an ensemble of practices that explored the natural world through natural philosophy and speculative traditions and by functioning as a nexus of social and intellectual life.
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