Critique of the Ship-Experiment Argument
Science, Method, and Argument in Galileo
First page number:
Last page number:
This essay is part of a critical comparison between Galileo’s defense of Copernicanism and the defense of Galileo from the many attempts to criticize his reasoning or to justify his condemnation by the Inquisition. In such a context, I examine the anti-Copernican argument based on the ship’s mast experiment: that the earth cannot rotate because on a moving ship bodies dropped from the top of the mast lag behind, landing astern from its foot. Galileo criticized this argument with (1) a critical counter-argument questioning the analogy between a moving ship and a rotating earth; (2) a theoretical counter-argument concluding that on a moving ship falling bodies do not lag behind; and (3) an actual experiment refuting the anti-Copernican empirical claim. My discussion involves various aspects of the logic, methodology, history, historiography, and physics of such an experiment.
Galilei, Galileo, 1564-1642; Inquisition; Logic; Reasoning
Philosophy | Philosophy of Science
IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Finocchiaro, M. A.
Critique of the Ship-Experiment Argument.
Science, Method, and Argument in Galileo, 40
Cham, Switzerland: Springer, Cham.