Robert Boyle, one of the most important intellectuals of the seventeenth century, was a gifted experimenter, an exceptionally able philosopher, and a dedicated Christian. In Boyle's two Excellencies, The Excellency of Theology Compared with Natural Philosophy and About The Excellency and Grounds of the Mechanical Hypothesis, he explains and justifies his new philosophy of science while reconciling it with Christian theology. These pioneering works of early science and theology are now available in a modernized and accessible new edition. (...) This Broadview edition brings spelling and punctuation into line with current conventions and includes notes and references to set the works in their historical and philosophical context. The appendices include works by Boyle's predecessors in the philosophy of science, other philosophical writings by Boyle, and an appendix of the other figures mentioned in the texts. (shrink)
Ethics position theory maintains that individuals' personal moral philosophies influence their judgments, actions, and emotions in ethically intense situations. The theory, when describing these moral viewpoints, stresses two dimensions: idealism and relativism . Variations in idealism and relativism across countries were examined via a meta-analysis of studies that assessed these two aspects of moral thought using the ethics position questionnaire . This review identified 139 samples drawn from 29 different countries, for a total sample of 30,230 respondents, and concluded that (...) levels of idealism and relativism vary across regions of the world in predictable ways; an exceptionist ethic is more common in Western countries, subjectivism and situationism in Eastern countries, and absolutism and situationism in Middle Eastern countries; and a nation's ethics position predicted that country's location on previously documented cultural dimensions, such as individualism and avoidance of uncertainty . Limitations in these methods and concerns about the validity of these cross-cultural conclusions are noted, as are suggestions for further research using the EPQ. (shrink)
Natural law theory is enjoying a revival of interest in a variety of scholarly disciplines including law, philosophy, political science, and theology and religious studies. This volume presents twelve original essays by leading natural law theorists and their critics. The contributors discuss natural law theories of morality, law and legal reasoning, politics, and the rule of law. Readers get a clear sense of the wide diversity of viewpoints represented among contemporary theorists, and an opportunity to evaluate the arguments and counterarguments (...) exchanged in the current debates between natural law theorists and their critics. Contributors include Hadley Arkes, Joseph M. Boyle, Jr., John Finnis, Robert P. George, Russell Hittinger, Neil MacCormick, Michael Moore, Jeffrey Stout, Joseph Raz, Jeremy Waldron, Lloyd Weinreb, and Ernest Weinrib. (shrink)
A book review of _Free Choice: A Self-referential Argument_ by J. M. Boyle, Jr., G. Grisez, and O. Tollefsen. The review concerns the pragmatical self-referential argument employed in the book, and points to the fact that the argument is itself self-referentially inconsistent, but on the level of metalogical self-reference.
This study presents a substantial and often radical reinterpretation of some of the central themes of Locke's thought. Professor Alexander concentrates on the Essay Concerning Human Understanding and aims to restore that to its proper historical context. In Part I he gives a clear exposition of some of the scientific theories of Robert Boyle, which, he argues, heavily influenced Locke in employing similar concepts and terminology. Against this background, he goes on in Part II to provide an account of (...) Locke's views on the external world and our knowledge of it. He shows those views to be more consistent and plausible than is generally allowed, demonstrating how they make sense and enable scientific explanations of nature. In examining the views of Locke and Boyle together, the book throws new light both on the development of philosophy and the beginnings of modern science, and in particular it makes a considerable and original contribution to our understanding of Locke's philosophy. (shrink)
This paper provides an analysis of Robert Boyle's most detailed discussion of the Baconian method of natural history. In a long letter to Henry Oldenburg dated 13 June 1666 and in ancillary manuscript material, Boyle spells out the method or 'Designe' by which he believes experimental programs in natural philosophy should be written up. The 'Designe' is enormously important in giving a clear statement of the precise contours of Boyle's Baconian methodology and providing a key to understanding (...) the rationale, composition and format for many of his published histories. Works such as New Experiments and Considerations Touching Cold, Memoirs for the Natural History of Human Blood and even his more speculative writings such as An Introduction to the History of Particular Qualities are best understood in terms of Boyle's overall method as articulated in his “Designe about Natural History”. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 83 - 107 This paper examines Hobbes’s criticisms of Robert Boyle’s air-pump experiments in light of Hobbes’s account in _De Corpore_ and _De Homine_ of the relationship of natural philosophy to geometry. I argue that Hobbes’s criticisms rely upon his understanding of what counts as “true physics.” Instead of seeing Hobbes as defending natural philosophy as “a causal enterprise … [that] as such, secured total and irrevocable assent,” 1 I argue that, in (...) his disagreement with Boyle, Hobbes relied upon his understanding of natural philosophy as a mixed mathematical science. In a mixed mathematical science one can mix facts from experience with causal principles borrowed from geometry. Hobbes’s harsh criticisms of Boyle’s philosophy, especially in the _Dialogus Physicus, sive De natura aeris_, should thus be understood as Hobbes advancing his view of the proper relationship of natural philosophy to geometry in terms of mixing principles from geometry with facts from experience. Understood in this light, Hobbes need not be taken to reject or diminish the importance of experiment/experience; nor should Hobbes’s criticisms in _Dialogus Physicus_ be understood as rejecting experimenting as ignoble and not befitting a philosopher. Instead, Hobbes’s viewpoint is that experiment/experience must be understood within its proper place – it establishes the ‘that’ for a mixed mathematical science explanation. (shrink)
While the tradition of Locke scholarship holds that both Locke and Boyle are species anti-realists, there is evidence that this interpretation is false. Specifically, there has been some recent work on Boyle showing that he is, unlike Locke, a species realist. In this paper I argue that once we see Boyle as a realist about natural species, it is plausible to read some of Locke’s most formidable anti-realist arguments as directed specifically at Boyle’s account of natural (...) species. This is a break from the tradition because no one in the literature has yet suggested that some of Locke’s arguments in Book III of the Essay include a criticism of Boyle’s doctrine of species. Moreover, identifying Boyle as Locke’s intended target illuminates some of the more vexing passages in the Essay concerning real essences. (shrink)
Although Boyle has been regarded as a champion of the seventeenth century Cartesian mechanical philosophy, I defend the position that Boyle’s views conciliate between a strictly mechanistic conception of fundamental matter and a non-reductionist conception of chemical qualities. In particular, I argue that this conciliation is evident in Boyle’s ontological distinction between fundamental corpuscles endowed with mechanistic properties and higher-level corpuscular concretions endowed with chemical properties. Some of these points have already been acknowledged by contemporary scholars, and (...) I actively engage with their ideas in this paper. However I attempt to contribute to the debate over Boyle’s mechanical philosophy by arguing that Boyle’s writings suggest an emergentist, albeit still mechanistic, notion of chemical properties. I contrast Boyle’s views against those of strict reductionist mechanical philosophers, focusing on the famous debate with Spinoza over the redintegration of niter, and argue that Boyle’s complex chemical ontology provides a more satisfactory understanding of chemical phenomena than is provided by a strictly reductionist and Cartesian mechanical philosophy. (shrink)
This paper explores the special problems encountered by the biographer of a living scientific subject. In particular, it explores the complex of problems that emerges from the intense interpersonal dynamic involving issues of distance, privacy and trust. It also explores methodological problems having to do with oral history interviews and other supporting documentation. It draws on the personal experience of the author and the biographical subject of G. Ledyard Stebbins Jr., the botanist, geneticist and evolutionist. It also offers prescriptives and (...) recommendations for future research. (shrink)
The current consensus in Locke scholarship is that Robert Boyle anticipated Locke's thesis that classification into species is the arbitrary work of the understanding. In fact, according to Michael Ayers, inter alia, not only did Boyle and Locke both think that classification is the workmanship of the understanding but that this thesis follows directly from the mechanical hypothesis itself. In this paper I argue that this reading of Boyle is mistaken: Locke's thesis on classification was not anticipated (...) by Boyle. I will do this by showing that Boyle's account of classification is not Locke's, but is a more realist view of natural species employing a mechanically respectable account of natural forms. (shrink)
This article examines the seventeenth-century debate between the Dutch philosopher Benedict de Spinoza and the British scientist Robert Boyle, with a view to explicating what the twentieth-century French philosopher Gilles Deleuze considers to be the difference between science and philosophy. The two main themes that are usually drawn from the correspondence of Boyle and Spinoza, and used to polarize the exchange, are the different views on scientific methodology and on the nature of matter that are attributed to each (...) correspondent. Commentators have tended to focus on one or the other of these themes in order to champion either Boyle or Spinoza in their assessment of the exchange. This paper draws upon the resources made available by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in their major work What is Philosophy?, in order to offer a more balanced account of the exchange, which in its turn contributes to our understanding of Deleuze and Guattari’s conception of the difference between science and philosophy. (shrink)
Various early modern philosophers affirm the traditional distinction between ‘things above reason’ and ‘things contrary to reason.’ However, it is Robert Boyle who goes furthest to rework and defend the division, and to explore its ramifications in detail. My aim here is to examine the logical structure of Boyle’s version of the distinction, and his concomitant account of the sphere of truths beyond human understanding. I also weigh the philosophical merits of the account and clarify the relationship between (...)Boyle’s characterization of things above reason and his alleged dialethism. (shrink)
Michael Hunter, The Boyle Papers: Understanding the Manuscripts of Robert Boyle. With contributions by Edward B. Davis, Harriet Knight, Charles Littleton and Lawrence M. Principe. Aldershot, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007. Pp. xiii + 674. US$139.95/£70.00 HB. -/- The publication by Michael Hunter of this revised edition of the catalogue of the Boyle Papers contributes admirably to the renaissance in Boyle studies which has taken place over the past decade and a half. Robert Boyle (1627–91), (...) arguably the most influential British scientist of the late seventeenth century, was a pioneering experimenter, profound thinker, and figure-head of the new science in its early years of development. This volume brings together the materials necessary for understanding the Boyle archive, one of the most important archives from this period, which has been at the Royal Society since 1769. (shrink)
El propósito de este artículo es mostrar el conflicto de carácter epistémico y metodológico que está en juego en la discusión Boyle/Spinoza, y que permite apreciar cómo, en la naciente ciencia natural del siglo XVII, habría que revaluar al menos dos aspectos: i) la preferencia por un conocimiento hi..
Recentemente, alguns acadêmicos têm demonstrado que a tradução química pode auxiliar o trabalho histórico. O objetivo deste trabalho é traduzir alguns experimentos alquímicos de Robert Boyle para a química contemporânea, particularmente, aqueles que envolvem a água régia. A maior parte desses experimentos tem relação com o mecanicismo boyleano, com receitas de produção de compostos e com a padronização de procedimentos químicos. Muitos deles envolvem descrições precisas de propriedades, tais como o ponto de fusão, a mudança de gosto, a liberação (...) de som e bolhas, a corrosão etc., que podem ser usadas como ferramentas de rastreamento para uma tradução à notação química atual. (shrink)
In thirteen specially written essays, leading philosophers explore Kantian themes in moral and political philosophy that are prominent in the work of Thomas E. Hill, Jr., such as respect and self-respect, practical reason, conscience, and duty. In conclusion Hill offers an overview of his work and responses to the preceding essays.
Henry Johnstone's philosophical development was guided by a persistent need to reform the concept of validity -either by reinterpreting it or by finding a substitute for it. This project lead Johnstone into interesting confrontations with the concept of rhetoric and especiaUy with the work of Chaim Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca. The project culminated in a failed attempt to develop a formal ethics of rhetoric and argumentation, but this attempt was itself not consistent with some of Johnstone's other characterizations ofan ethics of (...) argument ation. A virtue ethics would be truer to the Johnstonian philosophical project than a formal ethics of argument. Resume. (shrink)