Robert Boyle and John Locke: corpuscular hypothesis and experimental philisophy

Luciana Zaterka


This paper aims at showing that F. Bacon and R. Boyle's English experimental philosophy, particulatly the corpuscular philosophy of the latter, was essential to the construction of J. Locke's experimental philosophy. It will be shown that according to author of the Essay on Human Understanding we can only reach the knowledge of some of the propertirs of the bodies through the effects they have on us, without us ever being able to know the ultimate substance they are made of. These issues may help us explain the meanining of the notion of matter for 17th English philosophy, with its importat distinction between primary and secondary qualities and, moreover, the proposal to constitute an experimental science in Boyle and Lockes's philosophies.

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