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The Science of Nature in the Seventeenth CenturyExperimental Versus Speculative Natural Philosophy

The Science of Nature in the Seventeenth Century: Experimental Versus Speculative Natural Philosophy PETER R. ANSTEY EXPERIMENTAL VERSUS SPECULATIVE NATURAL PHILOSOPHY 1.INTRODUCTION This chapter discusses an undeservedly neglected distinction in the discussions of method in natural philosophy in early modern England. It is the distinction between experimental and speculative natural philosophy. The chapter makes no attempt to analyse the modes of deployment of this distinction within the method discourse and practice of early modern natural philosophy. Rather it merely seeks to establish its presence, importance and historical development within this discourse. It is evident that the distinction between experimental and speculative natural philosophy was deployed within rhetorical, heuristic and philosophical contexts during the period, but I do not discuss these uses here. It will be enough in this paper to establish its widespread incidence and to trace its development. A distinction between speculative and experimental natural philosophy is found in many different English writers in the latter half of the seventeenth century. For example, John Dunton’s The Young-Students-Library (1692), which, as its title suggests, is addressed to a student audience, divides natural philosophy as follows: Philosophy may be consider’d under these two Heads, Natural and Moral: The first of which, by Reason of the strange Alterations that have been made in it, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

The Science of Nature in the Seventeenth CenturyExperimental Versus Speculative Natural Philosophy

Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Book Series (volume 19)
Editors: Anstey, Peter R.; Schuster, John A.

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References (71)

Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
© Springer 2005
ISBN
978-1-4020-3603-3
Pages
215 –242
DOI
10.1007/1-4020-3703-1_9
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

PETER R. ANSTEY EXPERIMENTAL VERSUS SPECULATIVE NATURAL PHILOSOPHY 1.INTRODUCTION This chapter discusses an undeservedly neglected distinction in the discussions of method in natural philosophy in early modern England. It is the distinction between experimental and speculative natural philosophy. The chapter makes no attempt to analyse the modes of deployment of this distinction within the method discourse and practice of early modern natural philosophy. Rather it merely seeks to establish its presence, importance and historical development within this discourse. It is evident that the distinction between experimental and speculative natural philosophy was deployed within rhetorical, heuristic and philosophical contexts during the period, but I do not discuss these uses here. It will be enough in this paper to establish its widespread incidence and to trace its development. A distinction between speculative and experimental natural philosophy is found in many different English writers in the latter half of the seventeenth century. For example, John Dunton’s The Young-Students-Library (1692), which, as its title suggests, is addressed to a student audience, divides natural philosophy as follows: Philosophy may be consider’d under these two Heads, Natural and Moral: The first of which, by Reason of the strange Alterations that have been made in it,

Published: Jan 1, 2005

Keywords: Royal Society; Experimental Natural Philosophy; Speculative Natural Philosophy; Scientific Revolution; Natural Philosopher

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