Robert Boyle and the Limits of Reason

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 28, 1997 - Philosophy - 243 pages
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In this study of Robert Boyle's epistemology, Jan W. Wojcik reveals the theological context within which Boyle developed his views on reason's limits. After arguing that a correct interpretation of his views on "things above reason" depends upon reading his works in the context of theological controversies in seventeenth-century England, Professor Wojcik details exactly how Boyle's three specific categories of things that transcended reason--the incomprehensible, the inexplicable, and the unsociable--affected his conception of what a natural philosopher could hope to know. Also detailed is Boyle's belief that God deliberately limited the human intellect in order to reserve a full knowledge of both theology and natural philosophy for the afterlife.
  

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Contents

Medieval Context and Concepts
27
The Threat of Socinianism
42
Predestination Controversies
76
Theology and the Limits of Reason
95
Philosophies of Nature and their Theological Implications i2 i
121
Sources of Knowledge
137
The Limits of Reason and Knowledge of Nature
151
Boyles Voluntarism and the Limits of Reason
189
Conclusion 2
218
Bibliography
239
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