A one-day workshop at the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University:
The Experimental Philosophy, the Mechanical Philosophy, and the Scientific Revolution
9:30am-5:30pm, Thursday 5th June 2014
The Scientific Revolution is often presented as involving the replacement of an Aristotelian world view by the Mechanical Philosophy. Another common theme is that central to the Scientific Revolution is a special emphasis on empirical observation and experiment as providing the basis for science, a theme often captured by the phrase ‘The Experimental Philosophy’. In the seventeenth century and thereafter, the terms ‘The Mechanical Philosophy’ and ‘The Experimental Philosophy’ were sometimes taken to be synonymous. If the Mechanical Philosophy is interpreted as an encouragement to search for explanations that appeal to mechanisms, as in the workings of a clock, then a close link with experiment seems plausible. On the other hand, if that philosophy is understood as a change in the ultimate ontology of the material world, with the replacement of Aristotelian forms by nothing other than moving corpuscles of matter possessing shape and size, then a link with experiment is less plausible. The aim of this workshop is to explore the range of theses that were involved in the Mechanical and Experimental Philosophies, and to explore the relationship between them.
Speakers and titles:
Prof. Alan F. Chalmers (University of Sydney) ‘Qualitative Novelty in Seventeenth-Century Science: Hydrostatics from Stevin to Pascal’.
Prof. Robert Iliffe (University of Sussex) Title to be confirmed
Prof. David M. Knight (Durham University) ‘Clockwork, Chemistry and the Scientific Revolution’.
Mr. Thomas Rossetter (Durham University) ‘No Mechanism for Miracles: John Keill vs. the World Makers’.
Dr. Sophie Weeks (University of York) ‘Experiment and Matter Theory in the Work of Francis Bacon’.
Prof. David Wootton (University of York) ‘In Defence of the Mechanical Philosophy’.
The workshop is open to all but there are limited places available so please email email@example.com to reserve a place.
There will be a registration fee of £10 to cover lunch and refreshments.