PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Galilean Idealization and the Inertial Principle

In Koyré’s justly famous interpretation, Galileo’s introduction of an idea resembling Newton’s inertial principle is seen as emblematic for a new approach to the study of nature. Galileo’s proto-inertial principle is only true in highly idealized situations that are non-realizable in our world, but is nevertheless crucial to achieve predictive and explanatory success with respect to empirical phenomena. It is thus not accidental that contemporary debates on idealization still refer to “Galilean idealization”. In my talk I will analyze the role of idealization in Galileo’s introduction of his proto-inertial principle by comparing it with the case of Simon Stevin.

Author Information:

Maarten Van Dyck    
Ghent University

 

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