In this reassessment of one of the figures of early modern science, Rose-Mary Sargent explores Robert Boyle's philosophy of experiment, a central aspect of his life and work that became a model for mid to late 17th century natural philosophers and for those who followed them. Sargent examines the philosophical, legal, experimental, and religious traditions - among them English common law, alchemy, medicine, and Christianity - that played a part in shaping Boyle's experimental thought and practice. The roots of his philosophy in his early life and education, in his religious ideals and in the work of his predecessors - particularly Bacon, Descartes and Galileo - are explored, as are the possible influences of his social and intellectual circle. Drawing on a range of Boyle's published works, as well as on his unpublished notebooks and manuscripts, Sargent shows how these diverse influences were transformed and incorporated into Boyle's views on, and practice of, experiment.
The Diffident Naturalist
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