Robert Boyle Reconsidered

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This book presents a new view of Robert Boyle (1627-91), the leading British scientist in the generation before Newton. It comprises a series of essays by scholars from Europe and North America that scrutinize Boyle's writing on science, philosophy and theology, bringing out the subtlety and complexity of his ideas. Particular attention is given to Boyle's interest in alchemy and to other facets of his ideas that might initially seem surprising in a leading advocate of the mechanical philosophy. Many of the essays use material from among Boyle's extensive manuscripts, which have recently been catalogued for the first time. The introduction surveys the state of Boyle studies and deploys the findings of the essays to offer a reevaluation of Boyle. The book also includes a complete bibliography of writings on Boyle since 1940.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...Hunter deserves thanks for a volume that sets the stage for future research that will honor both intellectual traditions and context." Times Literaru Supplement

"...these essays open up new perspectives on Boyle...they place him more closely in the context of his own day: a most important time, in which the first lasting scientific institutions were formed and the 'new philosophy' gained wide acceptance...Anybody interested in the 'Scientific Revolution' or in how great scientists' minds work will find Hunter's book fascinating. The contributors have made their pieces accessible and the essays go well together." David Knight, Nature

"...Hunter deserves thanks for a volume that sets the stage for future research that will honor both intellectual traditions and context. The papers range widely, as do the writings they examine, and will be of most interest to specialists. For them and for all 'beginners' alike, Hunter's chapter and the 16-page bibliography of works since 1940 (updating Fulton's classic bibliography) are invaluable." E.R. Webster, Choice

"The essays collected by Michael Hunter represent the work of a group of Boyle scholars who have been active in the last few years in mining Boyle's papers—published and unpublished—for new information about a major thinker who has been relatively overlooked by historians. Much of this work is both welcome and rewarding and benefits from the fact that these scholars feed off of one another's discoveries." James R. Jacob, Albion

"...capable of stimulating the "newer, more nuanced view" of Boyle promised in Hunter's introduction Seventeenth-Century News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521442053
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/3/1994
  • Pages: 249
  • Product dimensions: 7.01 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations; Preface; 1. Introduction Michael Hunter; 2. Virtue, providence and political neutralism: Boyle and interregnum politics Malcolm Oster; 3. Science writing and writing science: Boyle and rhetorical theory John T. Harwood; 4. Learning from experience: Boyle's construction of an experimental philosophy Rose-Mary Sargent; 5. Carneades and the chemists: a study of The Sceptical Chymist and its impact on seventeenth-century chemistry Antonio Clericuzio; 6. Boyle's alchemical pursuits Lawrence M. Principe; 7. Boyle's debt to corpuscular alchemy William R. Newman; 8. Boyle and cosmical qualities John Henry; 9. The theological context of Boyle's Things above Reason Jan W. Wojcik; 10. 'Parcere nominibus': Boyle, Hooke and the rhetorical interpretation of Descartes Edward B. Davis; 11. Teleological reasoning in Boyle's Disquisition about Final Causes Timothy Shanahan; 12. Locke and Boyle on miracles and God's existence J. J. Macintosh; Bibliography of writings on Boyle published since 1940; Index.

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