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A redefinition of Boyle's chemistry and corpuscular philosophy

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Robert Boyle did not subordinate chemistry to mechanical philosophy. He was in fact reluctant to explain chemical phenomena by having recourse to the mechanical properties of particles. For him chemistry provided a primary way of penetrating into nature. In his chemical works he employed corpuscles endowed with chemical properties as his explanans . Boyle's chemistry was corpuscular, rather than mechanical. As Boyle's views of seminal principles show, his corpuscular philosophy cannot be described as a purely mechanical theory of matter. Boyle's classification of corpuscles allowed him to connect his corpuscular views of matter with chemistry. Boyle did not rule out the possibility of a classification of chemical substances based on their properties: his aim was to reform the received classification.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London, WC1H 0AB

Publication date: November 1, 1990

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