Galileo and the Emergence of a New Scientific Style

  • W. L. Wisan
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 145)


The scientific revolution that took place in Europe during the seventeenth century, like the renaissance in art preceding it, was a period of striking innovations built in large part of a revival of interest in and deeper knowledge of the classical works of ancient Greece and Rome. Moreover, just as Renaissance art was long regarded as exemplifying a complete break with the medieval past, so science in the seventeenth century was also long believed to be entirely independent of medieval ideas and achievements. Galileo, in particular, was celebrated as the “reformer” of natural philosophy who, more or less single-handedly, reestablished science on a new basis of observation, experimentation, and “the method of induction.”1 Today, however, just as most texts in art history point out subtle continuities between medieval art and that of later periods, so many histories of science now take cognizance of important medieval developments behind the emergence of modern science. Thus, Galileo is now usually found to have medieval predecessors, especially in mechanics and the study of motion.2


Local Motion Incline Plane Mathematical Science Scientific Revolution Accelerate Motion 
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  1. 1.
    Libri, G., Histoire des sciences mathématiques en Italie 4 vols., J. Renourd, Paris, 1867, 2nd Edition, Vol. 4. p. 159.Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    K. Popper, Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, Basic Books, New York, 1962.Google Scholar

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© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1980

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  • W. L. Wisan

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