The entity elucidated, by Antonio de Fuente la Peña (1676)

Antonio de Fuentelapeña was a Capuchin friar of the seventeenth century, author of three particular writings in which he emphasizes the treatise on the existence of fantastic creatures, El ente dilucidado (The entity elucidated). This peculiar book deals with the existence of goblins and gnomes, among other imaginary creatures, discussing their characteristics, physical properties, their roles and interactions in nature and other topics, through which it determines his explanations – some fortuitously precise – about the movement of fluids and the formation of meteorological phenomena. For this reason it is a very interesting document, even that not seeking to be a scientific treaty, it ends up being one partially.

Cárdenas’s reference to the volume of Fuentelapeña is extremely important, because it constitutes the philosophical justification – although he is not a very well-known author, even denied by his contemporaries – to the empirical approach of Cárdenas. He uses Fuentelapeña’s explanation that objects with weight can float on liquids, to extend his argumentation to any fluid, including air. In this way he can support, with a source other than just experience, his flight project. The reference is also special because it is almost lost in a rather extensive argument that includes other ideas. As Fuentelapeña’s book was very little known in his time – it will be very interesting to get to know how a copy of his book came to Cárdenas -, neither Cosme Bueno, nor Roselló, nor Palma himself paid attention to this text. In fact, in the case of Ricardo Palma, he uses the expression No lo disputa el Padre Fuentelapeña (Father Fuentelapeña does not dispute it) in a wrong way, when Cardenas wanted to say exactly the opposite.

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