Questions about the nature of matter, its qualities, and its behavior were at the very center of early modern philosophy. Robert Boyle spoke for the whole period when he said in his Excellency of Theology that

the Notion of Body in general, or what it is that makes a thing to be a Corporeal Substance, and discriminates it from all other things, has been very hotly disputed of, even among the modern Philosophers, & adhuc sub judice lis est [and the jury is still out].