Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):157-170 (2002)
This paper argues that, contrary to the claims of Alan Chalmers, Boyle understood his experimental work to be intimately related to his mechanical philosophy. Its central claim is that the mechanical philosophy has a heuristic structure that motivates and gives direction to Boyle's experimental programme. Boyle was able to delimit the scope of possible explanations of any phenomenon by positing both that all qualities are ultimately reducible to a select group of mechanical qualities and that all explanations of natural phenomena are to be in terms of the operations of machines and are to appeal only to qualities that are already familiar. This is illustrated by his investigations into the Torricellian experiment. Boyle's explanation of the elevation of the mercurial cylinder by appeal to the spring of the air was an intermediate mechanical explanation. Boyle was convinced that the spring of the air was ultimately reducible to the mechanical qualities. This in turn had implications for his research into the cause of respiration. In a move that was both parsimonious and consistent with the broad requirements of the mechanical philosophy, Boyle was able to solve the problem of the cause of the inflow of air into the lungs by appeal to his research in pneumatics. This application of a mechanical explanation in pneumatics to physiology is just what one would expect if the mechanical philosophy was as universal as Boyle claimed it to be. Therefore, far from Boyle's experiments having a life of their own, they were clearly directed by and understood in terms of the mechanical philosophy.Keywords: Air-pump; Boyle; Chalmers; Experiment; Explanation; Mechanism
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
Explanation and Scientific Understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes.Lakatos Imre - 1970 - In Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.), Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. Cambridge University Press. pp. 91-195.
The Lack of Excellency of Boyle's Mechanical Philosophy.Alan Chalmers - 1993 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 24 (4):541-564.
Mechanics and the Royal Society, 1668-70.A. Hall - 1966 - British Journal for the History of Science 3 (1):24-38.
Citations of this work BETA
Boyle and the Origins of Modern Chemistry: Newman Tried in the Fire.Alan F. Chalmers - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (1):1-10.
How Not to Integrate the History and Philosophy of Science: A Reply to Chalmers.William R. Newman - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):203-213.
Robert Boyle's Experimental Programme: Some Interesting Examples of the Use of Subordinate Causes in Chymistry and Pneumatics.Kleber Cecon - 2015 - Intellectual History Review 25 (1):81-96.
From Scientia Operativa to Scientia Intuitiva: Producing Particulars in Bacon and Spinoza.Daniel Selcer - 2014 - Intellectual History Review 24 (1):1-19.
Understanding Science Through its History: A Response to Newman.Alan Chalmers - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (1):150-153.
Similar books and articles
Robert Boyle and the Heuristic Value of Mechanism.R. P. - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):157-170.
Robert Boyle (1627–1691): Scrupulosity and Science Michael Hunter Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2000, Ix + 293 Pp., $90.00The Philosophy of Robert Boyle Peter R. Anstey Routledge Studies in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy New York: Routledge, 2000, Xv + 231 Pp., $90.00. [REVIEW]J. J. MacIntosh - 2005 - Dialogue 44 (01):167-.
Robert Boyle (1627-1691); the Philosophy of Robert Boyle: Scrupulosity and Science.J. J. MacIntosh - 2005 - Dialogue 44 (1):167-169.
Review of Michael Hunter, The Boyle Papers: Understanding the Manuscripts of Robert Boyle (Ashgate, 2007). [REVIEW]Simon B. Duffy - 2008 - Reviews in the Enlightenment 1.
Boyle, Classification and the Workmanship of the Understanding Thesis.Jan-Erik Jones - 2005 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 43 (2):171-183.
Robert Boyle (1627-1691); The Philosophy of Robert Boyle.J. J. MacIntosh - 2005 - Dialogue 44 (1):167-169.
Robert Boyle on Things Above Reason.Thomas Holden - 2007 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (2):283 – 312.
Kant on Experiment.Alberto Vanzo - 2012 - In James Maclaurin (ed.), Rationis Defensor. Springer. pp. 75-96.
Robert Boyle's Epistemology: The Interaction Between Scientific and Religious Knowledge.J. J. MacIntosh - 1992 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 6 (2):91 – 121.
Boyle on Science and the Mechanical Philosophy: A Reply to Chalmers.A. Pyle - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):171-186.
Experiment Versus Mechanical Philosophy in the Work of Robert Boyle: A Reply to Anstey and Pyle.A. Chalmers - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):187-193.
Robert Boyle and the Masculine Methods of Science.Rose‐Mary Sargent - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):857-867.
Added to index2010-09-14
Total downloads27 ( #191,396 of 2,177,988 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #166,811 of 2,177,988 )
How can I increase my downloads?