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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the series of drastic epistemological and methodological transformations in the status of hypotheses in British natural philosophy during the seventeenth century. It explains that hypotheses played a rather marginal role in Francis Bacon's methodological thought because he believed they lacked any physical content, although they occupied a centre stage in the Bacon-inspired natural philosophy program of Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. The chapter mentions that Boyle and Hooke provided a new definition of hypothesis, which is that of something conceived of as causally sufficient and probable explications of natural phenomena that stand in an evidential relation to the natural phenomena they serve to elucidate.

Keywords: hypotheses, natural philosophy, Great Britain, seventeenth century, Francis Bacon, Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke, natural phenomena

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