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)
Although the volume of the surviving papers of Robert Boyle is substantial (over 20,000 leaves), a considerable amount of the written material left by Boyle at his death in 1691 has not survived in the Boyle archive. This paper gauges the scale and identity of these losses using the surviving inventories made by the Rev. Henry Miles in the 1740s when he was collecting and sorting Boyle's literary remains in conjunction with Thomas Birch's preparation of his 1744 Life and Works (...) of Boyle. These detailed lists (edited as appendices to this paper), together with other sources, indicate losses due to a variety of reasons, some deliberate, others accidental. The losses involved the disposal of both items judged (in the eighteenth century) to be peripheral to Boyle's archive and, ironically, those in the most finished state from Boyle's hand, which were perhaps abortively destined for the Birch edition. These losses have significantly altered the character of the Boyle Papers, and thus the view of Boyle that is derived from them. (shrink)
This study throws new light on the composition of Boyle's Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Receiv'd Notion of Nature ; it also draws more general conclusions about Boyle's methods as an author and his links with his context. Its basis is a careful study of the extant manuscript drafts for the work, and their relationship with the published editions. Section 2 describes Boyle's characteristic method of composition from the late 1650s onwards, involving the dictation of discrete sections of text to (...) amanuenses; it also assesses the effect this had on the structure and presentation of Boyle's writings. Section 3 considers the published text section by section and indicates which parts were written when; it also surveys unpublished draft material relating to the work. Section 4 places the work in context, considering the intellectual threats that Boyle sought to confront in it, both when he initially composed it in the 1660s and when he rewrote it c. 1680. It thus anchors him more precisely than hitherto in the intellectual debates of his day. (shrink)
In this book, published in 1686, the scientist Robert Boyle attacked prevailing notions of the natural world which depicted 'Nature' as a wise, benevolent and purposeful being. Boyle, one of the leading mechanical philosophers of his day, believed that the world was best understood as a vast, impersonal machine, fashioned by an infinite, personal God. In this cogent treatise, he drew on his scientific findings, his knowledge of contemporary medicine and his deep reflection on theological and philosophical issues, arguing that (...) it was inappropriate both theologically and scientifically to speak of Nature as if it had a mind of its own: instead, the only true efficient causes of things were the properties and powers given to matter by God. As such, A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature represents one of the subtlest statements concerning the philosophical issues raised by the mechanical philosophy to emerge from the period of the scientific revolution. (shrink)
Featuring contributions by preeminent scholars of early China, _Confucius and the_ Analects _Revisited: New Perspectives on Composition, Dating, and Authorship_ advances and examines debates surrounding the history of the Confucian _Analects_.
Robert Boyle was one of the most influential scientific and theological thinkers of his time. This is the first edition of his correspondence, transcribed from the original manuscripts. It is fully annotated, with an introduction and general index.
On the shortlist of truly indispensable texts within early China studies, a special place is reserved for Ban Gu’s 班固 “Yiwen zhi” 藝文志, the oldest extant bibliography in the East Asian tradition, if not the oldest extant and complete bibliography from the ancient world. After outlining the bibliography in the first section, I argue that the “Yiwen zhi” was never meant to serve as a “library catalogue” in the everyday sense of the term. Instead, it was a highly selective and (...) ideological subject bibliography of texts deemed by Han imperial bibliographers as being useful for governance. The second half of the paper counters the tendency to read the “Yiwen zhi” as a stand-alone text or even, in the words of Mark Edward Lewis, as “the final encyclopedic work of the Western Han.” Set against the other nine “treatises” of Ban Gu’s Hanshu 漢書, the “Yiwen zhi” emerges as one among many products of a centuries-long effort undertaken by numerous parties to “survey” and “synthesize” all domains of knowledge of relevance to the imperium, a project modeled on the “Hong fan” 洪範 chapter of the Shangshu 尚書. The rhetoric, organization, and value of the “Yiwen zhi” were all contingent on that larger vision. (shrink)
Eric G. Forbes, Lesley Murdin, & Frances Willmoth, volume 2, 1682–1703, volume 3, 1703–1719; Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol & Philadephia, 1997, 2002, pp. xlvii+1095, lxvi+1038, Price £199 each hardback, ISBN 0-7503-0391-3, 0-7503-0763-3The correspondence of John Wallis, volume 1 Philip Beeley, & Christoph J. Scriba, with the assistance of Uwe Mayer and Siegmund Probst; Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003, pp. xlvii+651, Price £120 hardback, ISBN 0-19-851066-7 The Hartlib Papers. Second edition. A complete text and image database of the papers of (...) Samuel Hartlib HROnline, Sheffield, 2 CDs, Price £1,500, ISBN 0-9542608-0-5The Letters of Jan Jonston to Samuel HartlibW. J. Hitchens, Adam Matruszewski, & John Young ; Retro-Art, Warsaw, 2000, pp. 269, Price £25 paperback, ISBN 83-87992-12-7. (shrink)