Robert Boyle, Christian Virtuoso

Victor Nuovo

in John Locke: The Philosopher as Christian Virtuoso

Published in print August 2017 | ISBN: 9780198800552
Published online September 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191840449 | DOI:
Robert Boyle, Christian Virtuoso

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  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion


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Boyle gave the vocation of a Christian virtuoso its name and exemplified its character in his life. Following Bacon, he affirmed the priority of natural philosophy, and, like Bacon, he prescribed that it be practiced through experimental methods and that it found its explanations either directly upon perceived causes or upon causal hypotheses inferred from experimental practice or trials of nature, chief among them the mechanical or ‘atomicall’ philosophy. In his book The Christian Virtuoso, he prescribed that the study of nature was complemented and completed by the study of Holy Scripture, and he imagined a form of intellectual life in which the scope of natural reason was enlarged by revelation, which in turn was confirmed through trials or experiments of faith.

Keywords: The Christian Virtuoso; natural philosophy; Robert Boyle; Holy Scripture; experimental method; revelation; mechanical philosophy

Chapter.  13743 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

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