Foundations of Chemistry 22 (1):59-76 (2020)

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Abstract
The so-called ‘redintegration experiment’ is traditionally at the center of the comments on the supposed Boyle/Spinoza controversy. A. Clericuzio influentially argued in his publications that, in De nitro, Boyle accounted for the ‘redintegration’ of saltpeter on the grounds of the chemical properties of corpuscles and “did not make any attempt to deduce them from mechanical principles”. By way of contrast, this paper argues that with his De nitro Boyle wanted to illustrate and promote his new corpuscular or mechanical philosophy, and that he made significant attempts to explain the phenomena in terms of mechanical qualities. Boyle had borrowed the ‘redintegration experiment’ from R. Glauber and used it in an attempt to demonstrate that his philosophy was superior to the Peripatetic and Paracelsian theory. Consequently, Clericuzio’s characterization of the Boyle/Spinoza controversy as a discussion between a strict mechanical philosopher and a chemist is problematic and a wider view of Spinoza’s interpretation and its context gives a fairer picture.
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DOI 10.1007/s10698-019-09345-4
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