There is a new Otago-based blog centered on a fun, timely, and interesting History and Philosophy of Science project: https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/emxphi/
With the rise of experimental philosophy, renewed interest in earlier attempts at experimental philosophy are timely, and I wish the Otago group much luck! In a recent blog I critically discussed some of the underlying assumptions of the project: <http://itisonlyatheory.blogspot.com/2010/09/speculative-vs-experimental-philosophy.html>
In particular, I criticized the groups distinction between speculative and experimental philosophers in the early modern period. While I applaud dropping the Empiricist/Rationalist distinction, the Otago group's distinction cannot do justice to the most important philosophic current in early modern natural philosophy: the group that focused on theory-mediated measurement (think Galileo, Huygens, and Newton), which (retrospectively) helped lay the groundwork for 'modern' science.
In a recent blog, Anstey responds: https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/emxphi/2010/10/reply-to-schliesser/
Anstey's main point is to claim that experimental philosophy was done in two ways: one according to Baconian natural history, and another which "from the last decade of the seventeenth century Newton’s new mathematical natural philosophical method came to be seen as the preferred method of experimental philosophy."
The problem with Anstey's position is four-fold. First, it cannot do justice to pre-Newtonian, un-Baconian developments (besides Galileo I had mentioned Huygens in my original post, but one can also include Wallis, Wren, and Riccioli among these); second, when Newton published the first edition of the principia he was eager to distance himself from the experimental philosophy--it was only in context of polemic with Leibniz that in 1704 (I think) Newton adopted the phrase "experimental philosophy"; third, in fields as diverse as medicine, botany, and electricity research (etc), in the eighteenth century Baconian experimental philosophy continued side by side with the Newtonian enterprise (of the sort done by Euler, who really should not be labeled an experimental philosopher). Fourth, and most important to the history of philosophy, when the "experimental" philosophy was introduced into moral areas (turnbull, Hume, etc) it was decidely Baconian in character, and often quite hostile to Newton (but that story must await more detail later).