Science and Scientific Explanation
Thomas Taylor, the English Platonist and friend of William Blake, but also of Thomas Love Peacock, was an odd sort of character. He invented a perpetual lamp, the explosion of which upon its first public demonstration was a near disaster, all but burning down the Freemasons’ Tavern where the demonstration occurred. In the introduction to his translation of Proclus’ commentaries on Euclid, he in passing squared the circle. He was no doubt the last serious defender of the neo-Platonic view on the explanatory power of pure mathematics. His influence was slight in his native Britain, but for some reason he was influential in the new United States. But if his positive views were even in his own time thoroughly odd, he was not without critical insights into the views he felt himself to be combatting. In particular, I think the following remark he makes on Locke in the introduction to his Proclus-translation is acute.
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