Seventeenth-century England witnessed an unprecedented flourishing of natural philosophy, inspired by Francis Bacon's call for a new science based on observation and experiment, to be carried out in collective research projects,whose findings would be communicated in clear language. This anthology documents the effect of Bacon's ideas in the remarkably fruitful period following 1660. It includes his sketch of a scientific research institute in the New Atlantis (1627), which inspired the founding of the Royal Society in 1662, as acknowledged by Thomas Sprat in its History, excerpted here. Bacon's plea for an appropriate language for science also affected the Royal Society, as Sprat records, and gave birth to a number of schemes for man-made artificial languages, represented here by John Wilkins's Essay Towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language (1668). The selections are accompanied by a general introduction, extensive notes, contemporary illustrations, a glossary of obsolete and technical terms and an updated bibliography.
Table of ContentsList of plates; Acknowledgements; Preface; Introduction; Part I. Francis Bacon (1561-1626): 1. Preparative towards a Natural and Experimental History, 1620; 2. New Atlantis, c.1624; Part II. Robert Boyle (1627-1691): 3. Experiments with the air-pump, 1660; 4. The Sceptical Chymist, 1661; Part III. Henry Power (1623-1668): 5. Experimental Philosophy, 1664; Part IV. Robert Hooke (1635-1702): 6. Micrographia, 1665; 7. On Earthquakes and Fossils, 1668; Part V. Thomas Sprat (1635-1713) 8. History of the Royal Society, 1667; Part VI. John Wilkins (1614-1672): 9. An Essay Towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language, 1668; Part VII. Isaac Newton (1642-1727): 10. A New Theory about Light and Colours, 1672; Appendix: Joseph Glanvill's stylistic revisions, 1661 and 1676; Glossary; Notes; Select bibliography.