Robert Boyle's A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature PDF

By Robert Boyle

ISBN-10: 0521567963

ISBN-13: 9780521567961

Released in 1686, this paintings attacked triumphing notions of the wildlife that depicted "Nature" as a smart, benevolent and useful being. It represents one of many subtlest statements in regards to the matters raised through the mechanical philosophy that emerged from the medical Revolution. This quantity provides the 1st sleek variation of the total textual content, including a historic advent, a chronology of Boyle's lifestyles and notes on extra interpreting.

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Sample text

I shall add that the doctrine I plead for does, much better than its rival, comply with what religion teaches us about the extraordinary and supernatural interpositions of divine providence. For when it pleases God to overrule or control the established course of things in the world by his own omnipotent hand, what is thus performed may be much easier discerned and acknowledged to be miraculous, by them that admit in the ordinary course of corporeal things nothing but matter and motion, whose powers men may well judge of, than by those who think there is besides a certain semi-deity which they call nature, whose skill and power they acknowledge to be exceeding great, and yet have no sure way of estimating how great they are and how far they may extend.

By the intervention of human power or skill. So it is said that water kept suspended in a sucking pump is not in its natural place, as that is which is stagnant in the well. We say also that wicked men are still in the state of nature, but the regenerate in a state of grace; that cures wrought by medicines are natural operations, but the miraculous ones wrought by Christ and his apostles were supernatural. Nor are these the only forms of speech that a more diligent collector than I think it necessary I should here be might instance in, to manifest the ambiguity of the word 'nature' by the many and various things it is applied to signify, though some of those already mentioned should be judged too near to be coincident.

And then it exceedingly complies with our innate propensity to think that we know more than we do, and to appear to do so. For to vouch nature for a cause is an expedient that can scarce be wanting to any man, upon any occasion, to seem to know what he can indeed render no good reason of. And to this first part of my answer, I shall subjoin this second: that the general custom of mankind to talk of a thing as a real and positive being, and attribute great matters to it, does but little weigh with me, when I consider that - though fortune be not any physical thing but a certain loose and undetermined notion which a modern metaphysician would refer to the class of his non entities - yet not only the Gentiles made it a goddess (Nos te facimus, Fortunay Deam> Cceloque locamus [We make you a goddess, Fortune, and place you in the heavens])g which many of them seriously worshipped, but eminent writers in verse and in prose, ethnic and Christian, ancient and modern, and all sorts of men in their common discourse do seriously talk of it as if it were a kind of Antichrist that usurped a great share in the government of the world, and ascribe little less to it than they do to nature.

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A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature by Robert Boyle


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