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Aim-oriented empiricism and the 'father' of the scientific revolution: Metaphysics and method in the work of Galileo

Crawley, Katherine R.; (1999) Aim-oriented empiricism and the 'father' of the scientific revolution: Metaphysics and method in the work of Galileo. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with that branch of the history of science which takes as its central problem the question of scientific progress, defined as the growth of knowledge and understanding about the world. It is an area of enquiry which has been suppressed, in recent years, by the development of historical methodologies which eschew all epistemological deliberations and their established ramifications. This thesis, therefore, addresses itself to the following areas. In Chapter One consideration is given to the degree to which the present ascendancy of contextual, social history of science depends upon formulating methodological strategies that deny the very legitimacy of a progress history of scientific ideas. These strategies are shown to depend upon the old definition of internalist, intellectual history of science, which drew upon related areas in the philosophy of science. Some basic arguments in favour of the possibility of progressive histories of scientific ideas, which have been ignored by the discipline as a whole, are rehearsed. Chapter Two is devoted to an account of how a present-day philosophy of science, aim-oriented empiricism, offers a solution to the problem of induction which, by demonstrating that scientific rationality has a historical dimension, provides a suitable historiographic framework for a progress-oriented history of scientific ideas. Chapter Three examines the work of Galileo in the light of this new historiographic framework. Firstly, it is demonstrated to be an option 7 for exegesis, an account of how ideally rational science ought to be which does not rationally reconstruct the past Secondly, it illuminates Galileo's work in significantly new ways, demonstrating that by making explicit the metaphysical dimension already implicit in Galileo's methodology, his work can be shown to have an underlying unity - and be part of a progressive tradition - in ways which other interpretations, distracted by the seeming disunity at the methodological level, fail to appreciate. Finally, Chapter Four considers the possibility of a beneficial, reciprocal relationship between developments in the philosophy of science and in progressive histories of scientific ideas.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Aim-oriented empiricism and the 'father' of the scientific revolution: Metaphysics and method in the work of Galileo
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Galileo
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124164
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