By the middle of the eighteenth century, the elevated place natural philosophy had achieved remained secure, and indeed was reinforced as naturalization became a dominant explanatory strategy. On the other hand, those features of natural philosophy that had been considered, most notably by mechanists, to mark it out as a cognitive paradigm in the first place were not only now considered by most natural philosophers to be mistaken, but natural philosophy itself had largely fragmented into different disciplines, holding out no hope for a single, unified model for knowledge.
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