The scientific revolution: Mechanisation of the world picture or the emergence of science as opposed to a world picture?
Alan Chalmers aims to show that debates about the relative merits of the Aristotelian versus mechanical world views did not have much to do with the emergence of modern science. Those philosophical debates were about the ultimate make-up of the material world, the mechanical philosophers maintaining it to be composed of particles of material matter with a definitive shape and size and degree of motion and nothing else. Such issues were remote from what could usefully inform experiment. Experimental science involved the identification and investigation of intermediate causes, like weight, pressure, force and chemical affinity, rather than ultimate ones. Case studies, especially in hydrostatics, chemistry and optics, will be used to document my case. Recent relevant publications include 'The Scientists' atom and the philosophers stone', Springer, 2009 and 'Intermediate causes and explanations; The key to understanding the scientific revolution', Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 43 (2012), 551-562.