The use of scripture in the beast machine controversy

In David Beck (ed.), Knowing Nature in Early Modern Europe. London: Pickering & Chatto. pp. 65-82 (2015)
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The impression we are often given by historians of philosophy is that the readiness of medieval philosophers to appeal to authorities, such as The Bible, the Church, and Aristotle, was not shared by many early modern philosophers, for whom there was a marked preference to look for illumination via experience, the exercise of reason, or a combination of the two. Although this may be accurate, broadly speaking, it is notable that, in spite of the waning enthusiasm for deferring to traditional authorities, appeals to scripture remained commonplace in the work of early modern philosophers. In order to understand the philosophers of the early modern period, the philosophies they developed, and the debates they fought, we need to understand how they used scripture. This paper is intended to contribute to this desideratum by examining how scripture was used by those who engaged in a particular debate within natural philosophy, the so-called beast-machine controversy of the 17th and 18th centuries.
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