Boyle's Corpuscular Philosophy

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John Dreher
Philosophy 320
Robert Boyle’s Corpuscular Philosophy
Robert Boyle believed that the universe (observable objects) was made up of tiny bodies called corpuscles and these tiny bodies were thought to bring about large-scale phenomena by moving around and interacting in specific ways. These corpuscles are innumerable and are of a determinate size and shape and are either in motion or at rest. According to Boyle, motion is considered the grand agent of all that happens in nature and the reason for why things occur. (Journal of History and of Philosophy, Volume 12)

Ancient atomists failed to realize that a wise, influential being of the physical universe led them to conceive of motion as an innate property of matter. There failed realization of a supreme-being governing the physical universe led the modern atomists to believe that motion was initially unguided and random in its purpose. However, Boyle did not think that motion is neither innate or even random in its purpose, for he believed it was a God-given property of matter which operates in accordance with God-given natural rules.(Journal of Philosophy , Volume 12) Boyle believed that the laws of motion are Divine prescriptions by the reference to which God rules the physical universe and while in accordance with how the phenomena of the world is fashioned. While developing the physical world, Boyle speculates that God divided universal created matter into an infinite number of minute parts that differed in shapes, sizes and determinations of motion. These parts were the basic building blocks of life (corpuscles) of which all things of made of.

Now according to Boyle’s theory, bulk (size), figure (shape) and motion/rest (lack of motion) are the primary affection of matter. They are considered, by Boyle, primary qualities because they enable us to give a satisfactory explanation for the objects we see around us without the interference of human subjectivity. All other qualities, such as...
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