Embodied Empiricism

  • Charles T. Wolfe
  • Ofer Gal
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 25)


It was in 1660s England, according to the received view, in the meetings of the Royal Society of London, that science acquired the form of empirical enquiry that we recognize as our own: an open, collaborative experimental practice, mediated by specially-designed instruments, supported by civil, critical discourse, stressing accuracy and replicability. Guided by the philosophy of Francis Bacon, by Protestant ideas of this-worldly benevolence, by gentlemanly codes of decorum and integrity and by a dominant interest in mechanics and a conviction in the mechanical structure of the universe, the members of the Royal Society created a novel experimental practice that superseded all former modes of empirical inquiry – from Aristotelian observations to alchemical experimentation.


Royal Society Seventeenth Century Receive View Experimental Philosophy Early Modern Period 
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  1. Shapin, Steven. 1994. A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Sprat, Thomas. 1667. The History of the Royal Society of London for the Improving of Natural Knowledge. London: Printed by T. R. for J. Martyn and J. Allestry.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles T. Wolfe
    • 1
  • Ofer Gal
    • 1
  1. 1.Unit for History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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