David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Bulletin d'histoire et d'épistémologie des sciences de la vie 16 (2):113-140 (2009)
In this paper we suggest a revisionist perspective on two significant figures in early modern life science and philosophy: William Harvey and John Locke. Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, is often named as one of the rare representatives of the ‘life sciences’ who was a major figure in the Scientific Revolution. While this status itself is problematic, we would like to call attention to a different kind of problem: Harvey dislikes abstraction and controlled experiments (aside from the ligature experiment in De Motu Cordis), tends to dismiss the value of instruments such as the microscope, and emphasizes instead the privileged status of ‘observed experience’. To use a contemporary term, Harvey appears to rely on, and chiefly value, ‘tacit knowledge’. Secondly, Locke’s project is often explained with reference to the image he uses in the Epistle to the Reader of his Essay, that he was an “underlabourer” of the sciences. In fact, despite the significant medical phase of his career, Locke’s ‘empiricism’ turns out to be above all a practical (i.e. ‘moral’) project, which focuses on the delimitation of our powers in order to achieve happiness, and rejects the possibility of naturalizing knowledge. When combined, these two cases suggest a different view of some canonical moments in early modern natural philosophy.
|Keywords||Harvey Locke empiricism experiment|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Charles Wolfe (2013). Vitalism and the Resistance to Experimentation on Life in the Eighteenth Century. Journal of the History of Biology 46 (2):255-282.
Benjamin Goldberg (2013). A Dark Business, Full of Shadows: Analogy and Theology in William Harvey. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):419-432.
Similar books and articles
Charles T. Wolfe & Ofer Gal (eds.) (2010). The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge. Springer.
Lex Newman (ed.) (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding". Cambridge University Press.
Charles T. Wolfe & Ofer Gal (eds.) (2010). The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge. Embodied Empiricism in Early Modern Science. Springer.
Charles T. Wolfe (2010). Rethinking Empiricism and Materialism: The Revisionist View. Annales Philosophici 1 (1):101-113.
A. Gregory (2001). Harvey, Aristotle and the Weather Cycle. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (1):153-168.
J. J. MacIntosh (2005). Boyle and Locke on Observation, Testimony, Demonstration and Experience. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 5 (2):275-288.
Raffaella de Rosa (2004). Locke's Essay Book I: The Question-Begging Status of the Anti-Nativist Arguments. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (1):37-64.
Added to index2010-06-03
Total downloads231 ( #8,152 of 1,780,605 )
Recent downloads (6 months)51 ( #15,310 of 1,780,605 )
How can I increase my downloads?