- List of Abbreviations
- Notes on Contributors
- Becoming a Philosopher in Seventeenth-Century Britain
- Francis Bacon
- Robert Boyle
- Isaac Newton
- The Reception of Cartesianism
- Observation and Mathematics
- The Status of Theory and Hypotheses
- Substance and Essence
- The Nature of Body
- The Theory of Material Qualities
- Theories of Generation and Form
- Soul and Body
- John Locke on the Understanding
- Probable Opinion
- Logic and Demonstrative Knowledge
- Will and Motivation
- Hedonism and Virtue
- Passions and Affections
- Natural Law and Natural Rights
- Women, Freedom, and Equality
- Thomas Hobbes’ <i>Leviathan</i>
- John Locke’s <i>Two Treatises of Government</i>
- The Origin and Development of Property: Conventionalism, Unilateralism, and Colonialism
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.
Steffen Ducheyne is Research Professor at the Free University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel). His research focuses on the history of scientific methodology, with special reference to Isaac Newton’s natural philosophy and its eighteenth-century reception. He is the author of The Main Business of Natural Philosophy: Isaac Newton’s Natural-Philosophical Methodology (Springer, 2012).
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