Before scientific revolution: Aristotelianism (Aristotle). Put forward detailed theories in physics, biology, astronomy and cosmology (not yet very realistic). E.g. Ptolemaic astronomy.

Copernican Revolution (start of scientific revolution): sun fixed centre of universe, and the planets, including the earth, were in orbit around the sun (heliocentric model). The earth was no longer seen as centre of universe.

Copernican Revolution indirectly led to development of other philosophers and their ideas like:

Johannes Kepler: planets don't move in circular orbits around the sun (Copernicus), but rather in ellipses - first of three laws of planetary motion

Galileo Galilei: telescope - lot of astronomical discoveries, but also very important in mechanics: he refuted Aristotelian theory that heavier bodies fall faster than lighter ones - mathematical language

  • testing hypotheses experimentally
  • first truly modern scientist

Rene Descartes: radical new mechanical philosophy - physical world consists simply of inert particles of matter interacting and colliding with one another. Resulted in final downfall of Aristotelian world-view, second half of 17th century. ‘

Isaac Newton: improved Descartes' laws. Result: dynamical and mechanical theory of great power, based on three laws of motion and his famous principle of universal gravitation.

  • invented mathematical technique calculus
  • he kind of proved Kepler's and Galileo's laws
  • provided framework for science for next 200 years
  • widely accepted (formed basis for other scientific theories)

Albert Einstein: relativity theory - Newtonian mechanics doesn't give right results when applied to very massive objects, or objects moving at very high velocity. Quantum mechanics - shows that Newtonian theory doesn't work when applied on very small scale, to subatomic particles

Principal task of philosophy of science is to analyse the methods of enquiry used in the various sciences. - to question assumptions made by scientists (particular result in experiment occurs for example a thousand times, so that will always be the case, philosophers question this)

Karl Popper: a scientific theory should be falsifiable (theory makes some definite predictions that are capable of being tested against experience - predictions turn out to be wrong? Falsified)

  • Pseudoscience according to Popper: Freud's psychoanalytic theory, Marxism

When something isn't going in the way it should be according to a theory, one could attempt to explain away the conflicting observations (Popper criticises this, however this way of thinking led to the discovery of Neptune). Does Popper's way of demarcation of science from pseudo-science fail? What exactly is science? What typifies it?

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