Skeptical and Natural Philosophy

Francis Bacon and the Scientific Revolution

Who was Robert Boyle?

Robert Boyle (1627–1691) was the fourteenth child of the first Earl of Cork, who was the richest man in England. As the founder of modern chemistry, Boyle devoted his life to scientific investigation and methodology. He was well-received at the British Court, and a member of the council of the Royal Society, although he declined its presidency and the provostship of Eton because he did not want to “take oaths.” When he retired to a house in Pall Mall after a stroke at age 42, he maintained his own laboratory. Boyle’s goal was to replace Aristotelian mechanics with explanations using just two things: matter and motion. He was also a champion of the new atomism, or “corpuscular theory.” Boyle’s most famous works were New Experiments; Physico-Mechanical Touching the Spring of the Air and Its effects, The Skeptical Chemist, and The Experimental History of Colors. He also wrote a religious novel, Seraphic Love.


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