Chemistry is not an armchair activity. The historical assessments of early chymists have, until quite recently, been oddly bifurcated: different schools of historical interpretation have tended to place early chymists at opposite extremes of the spectrum regarding their involvement with practical laboratory affairs. Starkey drew upon a wide range of intellectual and practical traditions to develop his own investigational style. Formal Scholastic training, experience in early “chymical industry,” and medical practice were all combined by Starkey into a unified style for the investigation of nature and its deployment toward specific practical goals. Chymistry now appears less dependent upon extradisciplinary borrowings than has sometimes been thought. New studies will be carried out without the preconceptions about the nature of chymistry.
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