How not to integrate the history and philosophy of science: a reply to Chalmers

Abstract
Alan Chalmers uses Robert Boyle’s mechanical philosophy as an example of the irrelevance of ‘philosophy’ to ‘science’ and criticizes my 2006 book Atoms and alchemy for overemphasizing Boyle’s successes. The present paper responds as follows: first, it argues that Chalmers employs an overly simplistic methodology insensitive to the distinction between historical and philosophical claims; second, it shows that the central theses of Atoms and alchemy are untouched by Chalmers’s criticisms; and third, it uses Boyle’s analysis of subordinate causes and his debate with Henry More in the 1670s to demonstrate the inadequacy of Chalmers’s construal of the mechanical philosophy.Keywords: Robert Boyle; Alan Chalmers; Geber; Paul of Taranto; Daniel Sennert; Alchemy; Chymistry; Mechanical philosophy; Reduction to the pristine state
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References found in this work BETA
Alan F. Chalmers (2010). Boyle and the Origins of Modern Chemistry: Newman Tried in the Fire. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (1):1-10.
Alan Chalmers (1993). The Lack of Excellency of Boyle's Mechanical Philosophy. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 24 (4):541-564.
Peter R. Anstey (2002). Robert Boyle and the Heuristic Value of Mechanism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):157-170.
A. Pyle (2002). Boyle on Science and the Mechanical Philosophy: A Reply to Chalmers. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):171-186.

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Citations of this work BETA
Alan Chalmers (2011). Understanding Science Through its History: A Response to Newman. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (1):150-153.

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