Boyle and Locke on Observation, Testimony, Demonstration and Experience

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 5 (2):275-288 (2005)
In Warranted Christian Beliet Alvin Plantinga claims that “The Enlightenment looked askance at testimony and tradition; Locke saw them as a preeminent source of error.” Locke, Plantinga suggests, is the “fountainhead” of this stance. This is importantly wrong about Locke and Locke”s views, and an examination of the views of Locke’s much admired friend and slightly older contemporary, Robert Boyle, reveals that the claim is mistaken about him as well, reinforcing the view that Plantinga is in general mistaken about the intellectual milieu in which Locke wrote. In this paper I consider the views of Locke and Boyle on demonstration, observation, experiment, and testimony with a view to showing what, in the case of science and religion, their views actually were. For Locke I draw mainly on the Essay, while for Boyle I draw heavily on the MSS in the Royal Society Library, as well as on the printed works
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