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“So How Do We Know that the Moon Is Mountainous?” Problems of Seeing in Galileo’s Reflections on Observing the Moon

  • Simone De AngelisEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 319)

Abstract

In the debate on integrated history and philosophy of science, the idea of re-evaluating historical episodes in terms of how they contribute to illustrating the history-philosophy relationship is very intriguing. This position implies that historical episodes contain philosophical concepts or arguments that can be investigated on a basic historical level, i.e. by analysing historical data. This article reconstructs the historical episode of Galileo’s observation of the moon surface by analysing additional historical data that were neglected by scholars who treated the same episode. However, I focus also on the question on how an historical episode is constructed from historical data. I suggest to consider an historical episode on a more abstract level than concrete historical data. Thus, an historical episode can be conceived as an abstract scheme or model in which the historical data are collocated and interconnected. The starting point of my historical narrative was Galileo’s emphasis on the perception problem which clearly emerged only after the publication of ‘The Sidereal Messenger’ in 1610. The historical episode of Galileo’s observation of the moon contains a nuanced concept of seeing and observing, a proposition on how to determine the height of a lunar mountain, as well as a detailed argumentation regarding the mountainous surface of the moon. Thus, the historical episode illustrates a ‘style of scientific work’, a ‘mode of argumentation’ or a form of scientific explanation.

Keywords

Lunar Surface Knowledge Claim Philosophical Concept Epistemic Situation Argumentative Strategy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum für WissenschaftsgeschichteUniversität GrazGrazAustria

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