Boyle on Fire: The Mechanical Revolution in Scientific Explanation

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A&C Black, 2005/05/30 - 205 ページ
The philosophy of Robert Boyle (1627-1691) is a hot topic in early modern philosophy. Boyle was at the centre of the scientific community of 17th-century England, and an accurate view of the Enlightenment scientific revolution is impossible without recognition of the contributions that he made. Work on Boyle's philosophy is also shedding light on contemporary issues in the philosophy of science - it can help us understand the nature of scientific explanation and the role that the mechanical model of explanation plays in present-day science. Boyle's mechanical philosophy ushered in a new explanatory model for science and even though his corpuscular hypothesis failed, its failure does not entail the failure of the explanatory model of which it was an instance.

Boyle on Fire demonstrates these points by examining Boyle's work concerning a method of experiment common in the seventeenth century called Fire Analysis. In the Sceptical Chymist (1661), Boyle attacks elemental theories of chemical explanation primarily by raising objections against Aristotelian and Paracelsian interpretations of fire analysis. The book reconstructs Boyle's corpuscular account of fire analysis and then compares it to these objections. This process reveals those characteristics of mechanical explanations that make them epistemologically superior to elemental theories of chemical explanation, and it is these characteristics that survive the death of the corpuscular hypothesis and have become an enduring feature of the scientific enterprise.
 

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目次

1 Boyle and the Philosophy of Science
3
2 On the Intelligibility of Mechanical Explanations
24
3 Boyles Attack on Elemental Interpretations of Fire Analysis
87
4 Boyles Mechanical Theory of Heat and Fire
109
5 Boyles Mechanical Epistemology
129
6 The Contrivance of Parts
152
7 Mechanical Explanation in Contemporary Science
171
Conclusion
189
Robert Boyle chronology
194
Glossary of technical terms
195
Bibliography
198
Index
204
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著者について (2005)

William R. Eaton teaches philosophy at Georgia Southern University.

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