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)
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_.