Seventeenth-Century Theories of the Tides as a Gauge of Scientific Change

  • Wallace Hooper
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 239)


What causes ocean water to rise and fall between high tide and low tide levels twice a day at sea ports and shorelines? Over the course of the seventeenth century, European natural philosophers began to believe that the “flux and reflux of the sea” could be a very meaningful physical phenomenon. Their interest was stirred by the debate over Copernicus and the idea that the earth rotated on its own axis and orbited around the sun. The unsolved problem of the cause of the tides proved to be productive subject matter for Copernican and anti-Copernican authors alike. It was most productive of all, perhaps, for Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton.


High Tide Tidal Cycle Tidal Period Rectilinear Motion Tidal Motion 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

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  • Wallace Hooper

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