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Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy$
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Walter Ott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570430.001.0001

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Boyle's Paradox

Boyle's Paradox

(p.151) 17 Boyle's Paradox
Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy

Walter Ott (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Although Boyle's famous “lock and key” analogy seems to indicate that he takes powers to be nothing more than the intrinsic features of the bodies involved in their exercise, he also thinks that the distribution and conservation of motion is dependent on God's will. If this last point holds, however, then it is not clear how the key's power to open the lock could be reduced to the intrinsic features of the key and the lock. For if God were to vary the motion of these bodies, even keeping their intrinsic features the same, the key would gain and lose this power. This chapter suggests a solution to the paradox by sharpening up Boyle's seemingly reductive view of relations.

Keywords:   lock and key analogy, reductivism, supervenience, Locke, Boyle

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