The Excellencies of Robert Boyle
The Excellency of Theology and The Excellency and Grounds of the Mechanical Hypothesis
  • Publication Date: September 3, 2008
  • ISBN: 9781551114668 / 1551114666
  • 362 pages; 5½" x 8½"
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The Excellencies of Robert Boyle

The Excellency of Theology and The Excellency and Grounds of the Mechanical Hypothesis

  • Publication Date: September 3, 2008
  • ISBN: 9781551114668 / 1551114666
  • 362 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Robert Boyle, one of the most important intellectuals of the seventeenth century, was a gifted experimenter, an exceptionally able philosopher, and a dedicated Christian. In Boyle’s two Excellencies, The Excellency of Theology Compared with Natural Philosophy and About The Excellency and Grounds of the Mechanical Hypothesis, he explains and justifies his new philosophy of science while reconciling it with Christian theology. These pioneering works of early science and theology are now available in a modernized and accessible new edition.

This Broadview edition brings spelling and punctuation into line with current conventions and includes notes and references to set the works in their historical and philosophical context. The appendices include works by Boyle’s predecessors in the philosophy of science, other philosophical writings by Boyle, and an appendix of the other figures mentioned in the texts.

Comments

“To the Excellencies of Boyle published here we can add a third—the excellence of J.J. MacIntosh’s more-than-welcome edition that will make these important works accessible to an unprecedented degree. The edition animates the texts in the way that Boyle’s contemporary Richard Baxter thought that ‘his philosophy was the life of his theology (and conversely).’ The introduction, annotations, and appendices alone will be of great value to all those interested not only in Boyle, but also in any of the intellectual figures of the period.” — Thomas Lennon, University of Western Ontario

“In his edition, J.J. MacIntosh offers a modernized text of Boyle’s Excellencies, together with a lengthy introduction comprising a discursive biographical account of Boyle, a synopsis of his argument, and an account of the thinkers who influenced him. MacIntosh provides helpful extra headings indicating the content of the different components of the main treatise, and elucidatory footnotes that sometimes give analogous passages from other writings by Boyle and others. At the end appear a series of appendices, notably one giving biographical notes on people mentioned in the text. In all, this edition should do much to make Boyle accessible to a wider audience.” — Michael Hunter, Birkbeck, University of London

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Robert Boyle: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text: Conventions, Terminology, Transcriptions

The Excellency of Theology, Compared with Natural Philosophy

  • The Publisher’s Advertisement to the Reader
    The Author’s Preface
    The Introduction
    The First Part: The Positive Reasons for Studying Theology
    • The First Section: The Nobility of Theology’s Object
      The Second Section: Our Obligation to Study Theology
      The Third Section: The Advantages Accruing from a Study of Theology
  • The Second Part: A Comparison of the Advantages of Natural Philosophy and Theology
    • The First Section: The Delights and Drawbacks of Natural Philosophy
      The Second Section: The Practical Goods Resulting from Natural Philosophy and from Theology
      The Third Section: The Supposed Certainty and Clearness of Physics as Opposed to the Darkness and Uncertainty of
      Theological Matters
      The Fourth Section: The Natural Philosopher’s Unjustified Pride of Achievement
      The Fifth Section: The Value of the Fame that Scientific Attainments Bring
  • The Conclusion

About The Excellency and Grounds of the Mechanical Hypothesis

  • The Publisher’s Advertisement

Appendix A: People Mentioned in the Text
Appendix B: Boyle’s “Corpuscularianism”
Appendix C: Aristotle’s Arguments against the Void
Appendix D: The Requisites of a Good Hypothesis
Appendix E: Boyle on Fame
Appendix F: Future Contingents
Appendix G: Moral Demonstrations: Boyle, Smith, and “A Person of Honour”
Appendix H: Jonathan Swift’s “Broomstick” and Boyle’s Occasional Reflections
Appendix I: Coke, Boyle, and Edwards on Testimony
Appendix J: A Review of the Excellency and Grounds of the Mechanical Hypothesis (May 1674)
Appendix K: John Evelyn to Boyle (20 June 1774)

Works Cited
Index

J.J. MacIntosh is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Calgary.