Fall 2021 Colloquium - Ashley Inglehart


 Ashley Inglehart headshot

Ashley Inglehart, College of Medicine, Florida State University

Title: “Genesis, Creation, and Generation in Robert Boyle’s Natural Philosophy”

Abstract: This paper examines the problem of generation -how plants, animals, and minerals come into existence- as considered by eminent English Aristocrat, Robert Boyle. Boyle, most noted today for work in pneumatics, addresses the problem in more than twenty treatises spanning roughly forty years. His understanding of the forces of generation, moreover, would remain closely tied to his ideas about God and the biblical account of Creation throughout his life.

I show how Robert Boyle took up the imagery of seminal principles for religious purposes and made them cohere with his larger mechanical and experimental project. I likewise expand upon the influence that Boyle’s Theological Voluntarism had upon his epistemology and methodological approach to experiment. In doing so, Boyle would contribute to a larger project of rejecting Aristotelian essentialism in favor of a modern approach to science. Both his approach and ideas about the forces of generation would go on to have tremendous influence in medicine, philosophy, and the birth of science itself.


Start date
Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, 3:35 p.m.
End date
Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, 4:30 p.m.

Rapson Hall, room 45.