Natural Order and Divine Salvation: Protestant Conceptions in Early Modern Germany (1550–1750)
The efforts of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century weather observers from the standpoint of how conceptions of natural law were put into practice. The qualification 'into practice' is important for the author purpose: although the philosophical reflections of Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, Nicholas Malebranche, Robert Boyle, John Locke, Leibniz, Newton, and other seventeenth-century luminaries are of indisputable importance in establishing the new vocabularly and concepts of natural law. On later eighteenth-century attempts at mathematical models of meteorological phenomena by d'Alembert, Euler, Lambert, and Laplace. It is precisely this mismatch between programme and results that applied pressure to conceptions and practices of natural philosophers in search of natural laws, forcing modifications. Instead of revealing a handful of universal laws responsible for the patchwork of climates, early Enlightenment meteorological investigations transformed natural law into something more like the weather: local, complex, and only partially calculable.