He introduces the concept of representational spaces to describe generic theories such as the corpuscular theory
and the wave theory of light, as a substitute for Kuhn's concept of paradigm, which he finds rather vague and subjective.
Locke gave a detailed account of what such knowledge would yield (a demonstrative, a priori knowledge of phenomena), but he did not think such knowledge was possible for man: the corpuscular theory
was useful but not knowledge (pp.
Boerhaave was an enthusiast for Cartesian and Newtonian explanations of matter and motion early in his career and gave expression to mechanical, corpuscular theory
in his explanation of how normal and abnormal physiology are determined by the flow of corpuscles of various sizes through vessels and fibers that constitute the solid parts of animal bodies.
For example, he is likely to have been taught a corpuscular theory of matter ultimately derived - via Julius Caesar Scaliger and influences from sixteenth-century Cambridge - from late medieval Aristotelian concepts of minima naturalia.
In a remarkable exposition, he both identifies many of the actual chemical reactions concealed under this language and shows that, in theoretical terms, these writings bring together ideas derived from Van Helmont, with the Geberian corpuscular theory of transmutation, and with ideas about matter probably derived from Starkey's Harvard education.