Journal article

Knowing what would happen: The epistemic strategies in Galileo's thought experiments

Kristian Camilleri

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A | ELSEVIER SCI LTD | Published : 2015

Abstract

While philosophers have subjected Galileo's classic thought experiments to critical analysis, they have tended to largely ignored the historical and intellectual context in which they were deployed, and the specific role they played in Galileo's overall vision of science. In this paper I investigate Galileo's use of thought experiments, by focusing on the epistemic and rhetorical strategies that he employed in attempting to answer the question of how one can know what would happen in an imaginary scenario. Here I argue we can find three different answers to this question in Galileo later dialogues, which reflect the changing meanings of 'experience' and 'knowledge' (scientia) in the early mo..

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