HISTORY of science, ACADEMIC debates & debating, REPUBLIC of letters, PHYSICS -- Early works to 1800, RELIGION & science -- History, INTELLECTUAL life, and 17TH century
A striking omission in the scholarship on the reception of the chymical philosophy of Jan Baptista van Helmont in England in the seventeenth century is the work of the mid-seventeenth-century natural philosopher Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. In her Philosophical Letters (1664), Cavendish offers an extended critique of Van Helmont's work (whose Ortus Medicinae had recently been translated into English by John Sadler). In this paper, I compare Cavendish's criticisms with those of Robert Boyle in his Sceptical Chymist (1661). Both Boyle and Cavendish attacked Van Helmont for the obscurity of his chymical vocabulary and concepts, and attacked his seminalism. Although their critiques had much in common, they diverged in their attitudes to Van Helmont's experiments. As an opponent of the experimental philosophy, Cavendish had little interest in the quality of Van Helmont's experimental claims, whereas Boyle was critical of their unreplicability. I also try to show that the two writers had very different polemical agendas, with Boyle defending his vision of chymistry based on a corpuscularian natural philosophy, and Cavendish being as much concerned with establishing her religious orthodoxy as with defending the truth claims of her own materialist vitalism. For Cavendish, Van Helmont was an example of the dangers of mingling theology and natural philosophy. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
PHYSICS -- Early works to 1800, GENDER role in literature, and GREAT Britain -- Social life & customs -- 18th century
The article discusses the 18th-century book on social conduct, "The Female Spectator," by Eliza Haywood. Haywood's recommendations of the practice of natural philosophy as contained within "The Female Spectator" are examined, noting that they were written in response to correspondence attributed to a reader identified as "Philo-Naturæ." The importance of natural philosophy within the realm of women's education in Great Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries is noted, mentioning that it was seen as a way that women could be edified and entertained while simultaneously fulfilling their duties as women.
Astronomy -- Early works to 1800, Physics -- Early works to 1800, Astronomy, Physics, and Early works
Manuscript volume containing a treatise on physics, particularly as it relates to astronomy. The conversational tone of some of the passages suggests that these are perhaps notes taken from a lecture. Citations to other works by Classical and modern authors are sprinkled throughout the text.