Toward a New Science: Gathering Results and the Rise and Demise of a Dynamical Foundation

  • Jochen Büttner
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 335)


The chapter discusses how around 1602, and in any case before 1604, Galileo started to collect and systematize the results he had obtained while pursuing his challenging research program on swinging and rolling. The folios he used for this work all share the same watermark showing a small star with mountains. In his exposition of the content, Galileo mimicked a treatise by, for instance, drawing a margin, by opening paragraphs with majuscules, or by having the propositions noted follow the classical schema of a geometrical proof. Galileo was no longer merely exploring but was aiming at molding his results into a form in which they could properly be communicated in print in the future. Galileo, moreover, started to analyze his new results with respect to concepts anchored in the traditional conceptual frameworks. Thus, in particular, the concept of velocity started to figure in his considerations regarding naturally accelerated motion from which it had thus far been virtually absent. It was thus indeed Galileo’s analysis of the relation of the velocities of motions along planes of different inclination which revealed an inconsistency that, in the long run, forced him to renounce the attempt to provide a dynamical foundation for his new insights regarding naturally accelerated motion.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jochen Büttner
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for the History of ScienceBerlinGermany

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