Gender and Boyle's Law of Gases

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Indiana University Press, 22 avr. 2001 - 210 pages
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Boyle's Law, which describes the relation between the pressure and volume of a gas, was worked out by Robert Boyle in the mid-1600s. His experiments are still considered examples of good scientific work and continue to be studied along with their historical and intellectual contexts by philosophers, historians, and sociologists. Now there is controversy over whether Boyle's work was based only on experimental evidence or whether it was influenced by the politics and religious controversies of the time, including especially class and gender politics.

Elizabeth Potter argues that even good science is sometimes influenced by such issues, and she shows that the work leading to the Gas Law, while certainly based on physical evidence, was also shaped by class and gendered considerations. At issue were two descriptions of nature, each supporting radically different visions of class and gender arrangements. Boyle's Law rested on mechanistic principles, but Potter shows us an alternative law based on hylozooic principles (the belief that all matter is animated), whose adherents challenged social stability and the status quo in 17th-century England.
 

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Table des matières

Now We See It
3
Now We Dont
22
Boyles Work in Context
43
Stuart Conflicts with Parliament
45
Civil War Approaches
49
The Intersection of Class and Gender Politics
53
The Boyle Familys Religious and Class Politics
61
More Class and Gender Politics
66
Boyles Hermeticism Magic and Active Principles
98
Hermeticism Hylozoism and Radical Politics
109
Boyles Concern over the Sectaries
116
Boyles Objections to Hylozoism
124
Experimental Support for the Corpuscular Philosophy
130
Boyles Law of Gases
148
The Production of an Alternative Law
151
Good Science
172

Boyles Gender Politics
77
Boyles Background Reading
85

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À propos de l'auteur (2001)

Elizabeth Potter is the Alice Andrews Quigley Professor of
Women's Studies at Mills College. She is co-editor of Feminist Epistemologies and author of numerous articles in feminist epistemology and feminist philosophy of science.

Informations bibliographiques