ERIC Number: EJ909995
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Idealisation and Galileo's Pendulum Discoveries: Historical, Philosophical and Pedagogical Considerations
Matthews, Michael R.
Science & Education, v13 n7-8 p689-715 Nov 2004
Galileo's discovery of the properties of pendulum motion depended on his adoption of the novel methodology of idealisation. Galileo's laws of pendulum motion could not be accepted until the empiricist methodological constraints placed on science by Aristotle, and by common sense, were overturned. As long as scientific claims were judged by how the world was immediately seen to behave, and as long as mathematics and physics were kept separate, then Galileo's pendulum claims could not be substantiated; the evidence was against them. Proof of the laws required not just a new science, but a new way of doing science, a new way of handling evidence, a new methodology of science. This was Galileo's method of idealisatioin. It was the foundation of the Galilean-Newtonian Paradigm which characterised the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century, and the subsequent centuries of modern science. As the pendulum was central to Galileo's and Newton's physics, appreciating the role of idealisation in their work is an instructive way to learn about the nature of science.
Descriptors: Scientific Principles, Physics, Laboratory Equipment, Motion, Sciences, Methods, Science Education, Scientific Methodology, Science Instruction, Models, Evidence
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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