Galileo Engineer

Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science

Book 269
Springer Science & Business Media
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Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), his life and his work have been and continue to be the subject of an enormous number of scholarly works. One of the con- quences of this is the proliferation of identities bestowed on this gure of the Italian Renaissance: Galileo the great theoretician, Galileo the keen astronomer, Galileo the genius, Galileo the physicist, Galileo the mathematician, Galileo the solitary thinker, Galileo the founder of modern science, Galileo the heretic, Galileo the courtier, Galileo the early modern Archimedes, Galileo the Aristotelian, Galileo the founder of the Italian scienti c language, Galileo the cosmologist, Galileo the Platonist, Galileo the artist and Galileo the democratic scientist. These may be only a few of the identities that historians of science have associated with Galileo. And now: Galileo the engineer! That Galileo had so many faces, or even identities, seems hardly plausible. But by focusing on his activities as an engineer, historians are able to reassemble Galileo in a single persona, at least as far as his scienti c work is concerned. The impression that Galileo was an ingenious and isolated theoretician derives from his scienti c work being regarded outside the context in which it originated.
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Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Jun 3, 2010
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9789048186457
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / Criticism
Architecture / History / General
History / General
Mathematics / History & Philosophy
Science / History
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
Science / Physics / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In September 2007, more than 100 philosophers came to Prague with the determination to approach Karl Popper’s philosophy as a source of inspiration in many areas of our intellectual endeavor. This volume is a result of that effort. Topics cover Popper’s views on rationality, scientific methodology, the evolution of knowledge and democracy; and since Popper’s philosophy has always had a strong interdisciplinary influence, part of the volume discusses the impact of his ideas in such areas as education, economics, psychology, biology, or ethics.

The concept of falsification, the problem of demarcation, the ban on induction, or the role of the empirical basis, along with the provocative parallels between historicism, holism and totalitarianism, have always caused controversies. The aim of this volume is not to smooth them but show them as a challenge. In this time when the traditional role of reason in the Western thought is being undermined, Popper’s non-foundationist model of reason brings the Enlightenment message into a new perspective. Popper believed that the open society was vulnerable, due precisely to its tolerance of otherness. This is a matter of great urgency in the modern world, as cultures based on different values gain prominence. The processes related to the extending of the EU, or the increasing economic globalization also raise questions about openness and democracy. The volume’s aim is to show the vitality of critical rationalism in addressing and responding to the problems of this time and this world.

The broad range of interdisciplinary concerns which are encompassed by the philosophy of science have this much in common: (I) they arise from reflection upon the fundamental concepts, the formal structures, and the methodology of the sciences; (2) they touch upon the characteristically philosophical questions of ontology and epistemology in a unique way, bringing to traditional conceptions the analytic apparatus of modern logic, and the new content and conceptual models of active scientific investigations. These sources are reflected in the present volume, which consists of the major portion of the papers presented to the Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science in the academic year 1961-1962. There is no central theme nor any dominant approach in this colloquium. Initiated in 1960 as an inter-university interdisciplinary faculty group, the Colloqnium is intended to foster creative and regular exchange of research and opinion, to provide a forum for professional discussion in the philosophy of science, and to stimulate the development of academic programs in philosophy of science in the colleges and universities of metropolitan Boston. The base of the Colloquium is our philosophic and scientific community, as broad and heterodox as the academic, cultural and techno logical complex in and about this city. The Colloquium has been supported in its first full year, as an inter-institutional cooperative association, by a generous grant to Boston University from the U. S. National Science Foundation. We are most grateful for this help.
The Structures of Practical Knowledge investigates the nature of practical knowledge – why, how, when and by whom it is codified, and once codified, how this knowledge is structured. The inquiry unfolds in a series of fifteen case studies, which range in focus from early modern Italy to eighteenth century China. At the heart of each study is a shared definition of practical knowledge, that is, knowledge needed to obtain a certain outcome, whether that be an artistic or mechanical artifact, a healing practice, or a mathematical result. While the content of practical knowledge is widely variable, this study shows that all practical knowledge is formally equivalent in following a defined workflow, as reflected in a construction procedure, a recipe, or an algorithm.As explored in the volume’s fifteen contributions, there are three levels at which structures of practical knowledge may be understood and examined. At the most immediate level, there are the individual workflows that encompasses practical knowledge itself. Probing further, it is possible to examine the structure of practical knowledge as it is externalized and codified in texts, drawings, and artifacts such as models. Finally, practical knowledge is also related to social structures, which fundamentally determine its dissemination and evolution into new knowledge structures. The social structures of professionals and institutions represent the critical means by which practical knowledge takes form. These actors are the agents of codification, and by means of selection, appropriation, investment, and knowledge development, they determine the formation of new structures of practical knowledge. On a more abstract level, the creation of new knowledge structures is understood as constituting the basis for the further development of scientific knowledge.

Rich in subject matter and incisive in the theory it lays out, this volume represents an important contribution to the history of science and epistemology. Individually, the fifteen case studies – encompassing the history of architecture, mining, brewing, glass production, printing, ballistics, mechanics, cartography, cosmology and astronomy – are replete with original research, and offer new insights into the history of science. Taken together, the contributions remodel historical epistemology as a whole, elucidating the underlining knowledge structures that transcend disciplinary boundaries, and that unite practitioners across time and space.


You can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family; you can use it to work with your neighbors to improve your town and neighborhood; you can use it to design an office, or a workshop, or a public building. And you can use it to guide you in the actual process of construction. After a ten-year silence, Christopher Alexander and his colleagues at the Center for Environmental Structure are now publishing a major statement in the form of three books which will, in their words, "lay the basis for an entirely new approach to architecture, building and planning, which will we hope replace existing ideas and practices entirely." The three books are The Timeless Way of Building, The Oregon Experiment, and this book, A Pattern Language. At the core of these books is the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses, streets, and communities. This idea may be radical (it implies a radical transformation of the architectural profession) but it comes simply from the observation that most of the wonderful places of the world were not made by architects but by the people. At the core of the books, too, is the point that in designing their environments people always rely on certain "languages," which, like the languages we speak, allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a forma system which gives them coherence. This book provides a language of this kind. It will enable a person to make a design for almost any kind of building, or any part of the built environment. "Patterns," the units of this language, are answers to design problems (How high should a window sill be? How many stories should a building have? How much space in a neighborhood should be devoted to grass and trees?). More than 250 of the patterns in this pattern language are given: each consists of a problem statement, a discussion of the problem with an illustration, and a solution. As the authors say in their introduction, many of the patterns are archetypal, so deeply rooted in the nature of things that it seemly likely that they will be a part of human nature, and human action, as much in five hundred years as they are today.
The Structures of Practical Knowledge investigates the nature of practical knowledge – why, how, when and by whom it is codified, and once codified, how this knowledge is structured. The inquiry unfolds in a series of fifteen case studies, which range in focus from early modern Italy to eighteenth century China. At the heart of each study is a shared definition of practical knowledge, that is, knowledge needed to obtain a certain outcome, whether that be an artistic or mechanical artifact, a healing practice, or a mathematical result. While the content of practical knowledge is widely variable, this study shows that all practical knowledge is formally equivalent in following a defined workflow, as reflected in a construction procedure, a recipe, or an algorithm.As explored in the volume’s fifteen contributions, there are three levels at which structures of practical knowledge may be understood and examined. At the most immediate level, there are the individual workflows that encompasses practical knowledge itself. Probing further, it is possible to examine the structure of practical knowledge as it is externalized and codified in texts, drawings, and artifacts such as models. Finally, practical knowledge is also related to social structures, which fundamentally determine its dissemination and evolution into new knowledge structures. The social structures of professionals and institutions represent the critical means by which practical knowledge takes form. These actors are the agents of codification, and by means of selection, appropriation, investment, and knowledge development, they determine the formation of new structures of practical knowledge. On a more abstract level, the creation of new knowledge structures is understood as constituting the basis for the further development of scientific knowledge.

Rich in subject matter and incisive in the theory it lays out, this volume represents an important contribution to the history of science and epistemology. Individually, the fifteen case studies – encompassing the history of architecture, mining, brewing, glass production, printing, ballistics, mechanics, cartography, cosmology and astronomy – are replete with original research, and offer new insights into the history of science. Taken together, the contributions remodel historical epistemology as a whole, elucidating the underlining knowledge structures that transcend disciplinary boundaries, and that unite practitioners across time and space.


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