Galileo Studies (Alexandre Koyré) pdf, epub, doc

A. Historiographic info
1. This book is written as a coherent whole—as opposed to Newtonian Studies which was a series of disparate essays.
2. “Old” Contextualist. See the Galileo and Descartes simultaneous error for an example. The context is the scientists entire career. Isolated statements are avoided.
3. While Drake is a hagiographer (anachronistic), Koyré is a historian (diachronic). Koyré looks at error to examine the complete picture of Galileo.
4. Duhem (continuity)Koyre (relative discontinuity)Mach (absolute discontinuity). Koyre wants to overthrow the Duhem thesis (that the SRbegan in Medieval times). Koyre argues for “relative discontinuity.” His periodization show the preliminary stages that “prepared” the way for Galileo. Ernst Mach posits an absolute discontinuity but both agree Galileo is central to the Scientific Revolution.
B. At the dawn of classical science
1. The Scientific Revolution was not based on observation or experiment. Aristotle observed as much, if not more, than Galileo did. Instead, the SR should be classified by the ideas within physics (speed, force, intensity). There were 2 key changes which characterized the intellectual attitude of the SR: geometrization of space, and dissolution of the finite Greek Cosmos.
2. What distinguishes the new cosmos: heliocentric, geometric, infinite, homogenous (Greeks separated it into terrestrial and celestial)
3. Three stages of physics: Aristotelian, impetus physics (no motive force of natural or violent motion) by the Parisian school in the 14th century (Oresme and Buridan), mathematical Archimedian or Galilean physics
C. The law of falling bodies—Descartes and Galileo (this is important to show his contextualist position)
1. The law of falling bodies: All bodies fall with a uniformly accelerated motion.
2. Galileo formed the first of the laws of classical physics—the law of falling bodies—in 1604. In 1619 Beeckman and Descartes not only independently discovered the same law as Galileo but also made the same error that he did. This is therefore one of the most interesting cases of simultaneous discovery.
3. What is the reason for this simultaneity? This shows Koyre’s contextualist approach. They both made the same error due to fundamental (contextual) assumptions about nature itself.
4. Galileo’s and Descartes’s error was that “the speed of a moving body is proportional to the distance covered.” The correct law is that the “speed of a falling body is proportional to the time elapsed.”
D. Galileo and the law of inertia
1. The law of inertia: A body at rest or motion remains at rest or in motion until acted upon by an outside force.
2. The law of inertia is the key to understand Galileo’s revolution. Inertia destroys the Greek Cosmos.
3. One of Descartes (the physicist) greatest claims to fame was his clear formulation of the law of inertia. But, this was after the general idea was well known. It came from the mental labor of the Galilean revolution. This revolution was based on a replacement of the idea of the Cosmos (a closed whole with a hierarchical order) by that of the universe (an open ensemble interconnected by the unity of laws).
4. Galileo is placed in a Platonic tradition because of the value Plate placed on mathematics. Aristotle subordinated mathematics to experience.
5. Thus, Galileo and Descartes carried out the Scientific Revolution. Eventually Koyre widened out this view to include Copernicus and Newton. But, Kepler was never included because Kepler violated one of Koyre’s key principles of the Scientific Revolution. Kepler believed that the universe was finite.

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Book info

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Harvester Press
  • File: 5.5 Mb
  • Release: 01.01.1978
  • ISBN: 9780391007604
  • Pages 275
  • Rating: 4 (1 votes)


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