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Galileo’s Revolution: The Use of Idealizational Laws In Physics

  • Elia Nathan Bravo
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 172)

Abstract

It is generally accepted that Galileo was the first physicist to introduce the systematic use of mathematics into mechanics, although a mathematized statics and optics were already known by the Middle Ages. Furthermore, some historians of science, notably Koyre (for example in ‘Galileo and Plato’, [9], pp. 150–179), consider this mathematization of physics to have been one of Galileo‘s greatest revolutionary contributions. Since this question has been relatively well discussed, what I would like to investigate in this paper is a related issue, the use of idealizationallaws by Galileo. I will try to show that Galileo was able to introduce mathematical laws into physics by making them idealizational. Furthermore, I think that by studying Galileo’s use of idealization, we can understand better his revolutionary contributions — namely, what is it that differentiates in a radical way the kind of theory that he developed from the kind of theory that Aristotelian physics was and why experimentation came to be a fundamental tool for the development of classical physics.

Keywords

Abstract Theory Incline Plane Free Fall Secondary Quality Resistant Medium 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

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  • Elia Nathan Bravo

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