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Abstract

The formative stages in the shaping of the persona of the natural philosopher occur in the first half of the seventeenth century, although several models are in contention. In this paper I shall look at three attempts to spell out just what it means to be a natural philosopher: Bacon, Galileo, and Descartes. In terms of common themes, I shall focus on the question of what might be called intellectual morality, and in what way this marks out the natural philosopher. Part of what is involved in this notion for all three figures that I shall discuss is a refusal to adhere to a pre-given system, which is in many respects an odd requirement. I shall also explore the question of who is being contrasted with the newly styled natural philosopher.

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