Galileo and the Philosophy of Science

In view of several accounts of Galileo (as an "anarchist", Aristotelian-Thomist, Platonist, empiricist, and apriorist), this paper argues that, though the continued vitality of these interpretations indicates the uniqueness of Galileo's place in the philosophy of science, the philosophical importance of each depends on denying the alternatives; then proposes a synthetic approach as a solution; identifies it as a tradition; discusses its best and latest example (Clavelin); accepts the essential point of his account of Galileo's method (the skillful combination of thought and observation); and defines the novelty of his contribution as the analysis from that point of view of new elements of Galileo's work. However, it is argued that Clavelin's account of Galileo's theory of method does not do justice to the complexity and wealth of Galileo's philosophical remarks, and hence a new approach is suggested such that the essential feature of Galileo's philosophy of science becomes his skillful combination of scientific practice and philosophical theorizing.
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