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Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle

The universality of the mechanical hypothesis

Read the following text in which Robert Boyle exposes his conception about when a hypothesis should be accepted in natural philosophy. Your comprehension will be tested in the following step.

In physical hypotheses, there are some, that, without noise, or falling foul upon others, peaceably obtain discerning men’s approbation only by their fitness to solve the phenomena for which they were devised, without crossing any known observation or law of nature. And therefore, if the mechanical philosophy go on to explicate things corporeal at the rate it has of late years proceeded at, it is scarce to be doubted, but that, in time, unprejudiced persons will think it sufficiently recommended by its consistency with itself, and its applicableness to so many phenomena of nature.

Robert Boyle, About the Excellency and Grounds of the Mechanical Hypothesis, in Selected Philosphical Papers of Robert Boyle, Hachette Publishing Company, p. 152.

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This article is from the free online course:

The Scientific Revolution: Understanding the Roots of Modern Science

University of Groningen

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