The New Philosophy

  • Marie Boas Hall
Part of the The Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)


The innovations of the scientific revolution were by no means confined to astronomy, or indeed to empirical discovery and theoretical novelty. Equally revolutionary was the development of a new awareness of man’s potentiality, of his ability to understand the world around him, and of the possible results of that understanding. Perhaps most important of all the new currents of thought was the realization that the new natural philosophy of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was truly new, and that in consequence it deserved examination. The scientists of the seventeenth century commonly spoke of “the new learning,” the “new philosophy,” the “new experimental philosophy,” the “new mechanical philosophy,” seeing, like the humanists but more truly, the novelty of the work upon which they were engaged.


Seventeenth Century Natural Theology Experimental Philosophy Mechanical Philosophy True Philosophy 
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  1. SOURCE: Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning (London, 1605), pp. 33–34, 76–78, 98–111, in vol. I of The Works of Francis Bacon (10 vols., London, 1803).Google Scholar
  2. SOURCE: Translated by the editor from René Descartes, Principes de la Philosophie (Paris, 1647).Google Scholar
  3. SOURCE: Henry Power, Experimental Philosophy, in three books containing New Experiments Microscopical, Mercurial, Magnetical. With some deductions, and probable hypotheses, raised from them, in Avouchment and Illustration of the now famous Atomical Hypothesis (London, 1664).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1970

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  • Marie Boas Hall

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