Essays on galileo and the history and philosophy of science

Introduction Evolution itself is simply the process of change over time. When applied to biology, evolution generally refers to changes in life forms over time. The Theory of Biological Evolution is most often associated with Charles Darwin, because it was Charles Darwin that proposed the mechanism of natural selection and accompanied that proposition with a large volume of empirical data providing evidence for biological evolution.

Essays on galileo and the history and philosophy of science

The rise of modern science The authority of phenomena Even as Dante was writing his great work, deep forces were threatening the unitary cosmos he celebrated. The pace of technological innovation began to quicken. Particularly in Italy, the political demands of the time gave new importance to technology, and a new profession emerged, that of civil and military engineer.

These people faced practical problems that demanded practical solutions. Leonardo da Vinci is certainly the most famous of them, though he was much more as well. A painter of genius, he closely studied human anatomy in order to give verisimilitude to his paintings.

As a sculptor, he mastered the difficult techniques of casting metal. As a producer-director of the form of Renaissance dramatic production called the masque, he devised complicated machinery to create special effects.

But it was as a military engineer that he observed the path of a mortar bomb being lobbed over a city wall and insisted that the projectile did not follow two straight lines—a slanted ascent followed by a vertical drop—as Aristotle had said it must.

Leonardo and his colleagues needed to know nature truly; no amount of book learning could substitute for actual experience, nor could books impose their authority upon phenomena.

The hold of ancient philosophy was too strong to be broken lightly, but a healthy skepticism began to emerge. The first really serious blow to the traditional acceptance of ancient authorities was the discovery of the New World at the end of the 15th century.

Ptolemy, the great astronomer and geographer, had insisted that only the three continents of Europe, Africa, and Asia could exist, and Christian scholars from St. Augustine on had accepted it, for otherwise men would have to walk upside down at the antipodes.

Augustine, and a host of other authorities were wrong. The dramatic expansion of the known world also served to stimulate the study of mathematics, for wealth and fame awaited those who could turn navigation into a real and trustworthy science.

In large part the Renaissance was a time of feverish intellectual activity devoted to the complete recovery of the ancient heritage. To the Aristotelian texts that had been the foundation of medieval thought were added translations of Plato, with his vision of mathematical harmonies, of Galen, with his experiments in physiology and anatomy, and, perhaps most important of all, of Archimedes, who showed how theoretical physics could be done outside the traditional philosophical framework.

The results were subversive. The search for antiquity turned up a peculiar bundle of manuscripts that added a decisive impulse to the direction in which Renaissance science was moving. These manuscripts were taken to have been written by or to report almost at first hand the activities of the legendary priest, prophet, and sage Hermes Trismegistos.

Hermes was supposedly a contemporary of Moses, and the Hermetic writings contained an alternative story of creation that gave humans a far more prominent role than the traditional account. God had made humankind fully in his image: Humans could imitate God by creating.

The reward for success would be eternal life and youth, as well as freedom from want and disease. It was a heady vision, and it gave rise to the notion that, through science and technology, humankind could bend nature to its wishes. This is essentially the modern view of science, and it should be emphasized that it occurs only in Western civilization.

It is probably this attitude that permitted the West to surpass the East, after centuries of inferiority, in the exploitation of the physical world. The Hermetic tradition also had more specific effects.

Essays on galileo and the history and philosophy of science

Inspired, as is now known, by late Platonist mysticism, the Hermetic writers had rhapsodized on enlightenment and on the source of light, the Sun.

Marsilio Ficinothe 15th-century Florentine translator of both Plato and the Hermetic writings, composed a treatise on the Sun that came close to idolatry.

A young Polish student visiting Italy at the turn of the 16th century was touched by this current. Back in Poland, he began to work on the problems posed by the Ptolemaic astronomical system. With the blessing of the church, which he served formally as a canon, Nicolaus Copernicus set out to modernize the astronomical apparatus by which the church made such important calculations as the proper dates for Easter and other festivals.

The scientific revolution Copernicus Inas he lay on his deathbed, Copernicus finished reading the proofs of his great work; he died just as it was published. The scientific revolution radically altered the conditions of thought and of material existence in which the human race lives, and its effects are not yet exhausted.

Essays on galileo and the history and philosophy of science

The astronomer is shown between a crucifix and a celestial globe, symbols of his vocation and work. Copernicus actually cited Hermes Trismegistos to justify this idea, and his language was thoroughly Platonic. But he meant his work as a serious work in astronomynot philosophy, so he set out to justify it observationally and mathematically.

The results were impressive. At one stroke, Copernicus reduced a complexity verging on chaos to elegant simplicity. Variation in planetary brightness was also explained by this combination of motions. The fact that Mercury and Venus were never found opposite the Sun in the sky Copernicus explained by placing their orbits closer to the Sun than that of the Earth.

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Indeed, Copernicus was able to place the planets in order of their distances from the Sun by considering their speeds and thus to construct a system of the planetssomething that had eluded Ptolemy.Essays on Galileo and the History and Philosophy of Science.

Edited by N.M. Swerdlow and T.H. Levere University of Toronto Press. xxiv, ; viii, ; vi, $ each volume Stillman Drake of the University of Toronto was for the last decades of his life the most original and important scholar to study the seventeenthcentury physicist.

The essays are grouped by subject: biographical and textual studies, scientific method and philosophy of science, astronomy, a translation and essays on the, motion and mechanics, instruments, history of science, and philosophy of science and language.

Annotation c. . String wars among physicists have highlighted just how much science needs philosophy – and not just the amateur version.

His father was the musician Vincenzo pfmlures.como Galilei's mistress Marina Gamba ( – 21 August ?) bore him two daughters, (Maria Celeste (Virginia, –) and Livia (–), both of whom became nuns), and a son, Vincenzo (–), a lutenist. pfmlures.com: Galileo's Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science (): Peter Atkins: Books. Sunday newsletter. Brain Pickings has a free Sunday digest of the week's most interesting and inspiring articles across art, science, philosophy, creativity, children's books, and other strands of our search for truth, beauty, and meaning. Here's an pfmlures.com? Claim yours.

Volume I of Stillman Drake's Essays on Galileo and the History and Philosophy of Science serves as a comprehensive introduction to Galileo's life, science, and writings, and with its forthcoming companion volumes, will indeed be a fitting tribute to the memory of one of Canada's most accomplished pfmlures.coms: 1.

Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion [Ronald L. Numbers] on pfmlures.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. If we want nonscientists and opinion-makers in the press, the lab, and the pulpit to take a fresh look at the relationship between science and religion.

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Philosophy of Science