Science and instruments: The telescope as a scientific instrument at the beginning of the seventeenth century
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Perspectives on Science 9 (3):259-284 (2001)
: Scientific observation is determined by the human sensory system, which generally relies on instruments that serve as mediators between the world and the senses. Instruments came in the shape of Heron's Dioptra, Levi Ben Gerson's Cross-staff, Egnatio Danti's Torqvetto Astronomico, Tycho's Quadrant, Galileo's Geometric Military Compass, or Kepler's Ecliptic Instrument. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, however, it was unclear how an instrument such as the telescope could be employed to acquire new information and expand knowledge about the world. To exploit the telescope as a device for astronomical observations Galileo had to: 1. establish that telescopic images are not optical defects, imperfections in the eye of the observer, or illusions caused by lenses; 2. develop procedures for systematically handling errors that may occur during observation and measurement and methods of processing data. Galileo made it clear that in order to measure and interpret natural phenomena accurately, a suitable method and instrument would need to be developed. It is intriguing, therefore, to regard the Galilean telescope in this light and to discover the linkage established by Galileo among theory, method, and instrument—the telescope. Although the telescope was not invented through science, it is instructive to see how Galileo used optics to employ a theory-laden instrument for bridging the gulf between picture and scientific language, between drawing and reporting physical facts, and between merely sketching the world and actually describing it.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
James Bogen & James Woodward (1988). Saving the Phenomena. Philosophical Review 97 (3):303-352.
Jim Woodward (1989). Data and Phenomena. Synthese 79 (3):393 - 472.
Peter Barker & Bernard R. Goldstein (1998). Realism and Instrumentalism in Sixteenth Century Astronomy: A Reappraisal. Perspectives on Science 6 (3):232-258.
Peter Dear (1987). Jesuit Mathematical Science and the Reconstitution of Experience in the Early Seventeenth Century. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 18 (2):133-175.
Roger Ariew (1984). Galileo's Lunar Observations in the Context of Medieval Lunar Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 15 (3):213-226.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Giora Hon Yaakov Zik (2009). Kepler's Optical Part of Astronomy (1604): Introducing the Ecliptic Instrument. Perspectives on Science 17 (3):pp. 307-345.
Albrecht Hirschmüller (1997). Dynamometrie. Zur Messung der Körperkraft des Menschen im 19. Jahrhundert. NTM International Journal of History and Ethics of Natural Sciences, Technology and Medicine 5 (1):104-118.
Don Ihde (2011). Husserl's Galileo Needed a Telescope! Philosophy and Technology 24 (1):69-82.
Thomas Sturm & Mitchell G. Ash (2005). The Roles of Instruments in Psychological Research. History of Psychology 8:3-34.
Dušan I. Bjelic (1996). Lebenswelt Structures of Galilean Physics: The Case of Galileo's Pendulum. [REVIEW] Human Studies 19 (4):409 - 432.
Martin Kemp (2006). Seen | Unseen: Art, Science, and Intuition From Leonardo to the Hubble Telescope. OUP Oxford.
Marcel Boumans (2004). The Reliability of an Instrument. Social Epistemology 18 (2 & 3):215 – 246.
Sven Dupré (2008). Newton's Telescope in Print: The Role of Images in the Reception of Newton's Instrument. Perspectives on Science 16 (4):pp. 328-359.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads32 ( #98,632 of 1,724,892 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #268,597 of 1,724,892 )
How can I increase my downloads?