Galileo and Newton


2/4/97

Galileo believed the physical world to be bounded. He says that all
material things have "this or that shape" and are small or large in relation to
other things. He also says that material objects are either in motion or at
rest, touching or not touching some other body, and are either one in number,
or many. The central properties of the material world are mathematical and
strengthened through experimentation. Galileo excludes the properties of tastes,
odors, colors, and so on when describing the material world. He states that
these properties "reside only in the consciousness." These latter properties
would cease to exist without the living creature so the mathematically defined
properties are the most accurate in describing the material world. Galileo
seems to test his beliefs through experimentation and mathematical reasoning.
He sites examples in life that support his hypothesis. His argument is of a
scientific nature because he is making a hypothesis on a distinctive type of
concept. The conclusions that Galileo made relate directly to the work in
physics for which he is so well known. His conclusions put emphasis on shapes,
numbers, and motion which are all properties that lend themselves to support
through "reasoning back and forth between theory and experiment." I feel that
Galileo\'s argument is a valid one because it explains relations in nature and
the physical world through mathematical analysis. This allows him to define a
world outside of human existence that can be logically calculated and explained.
His view describes the world in which living creatures live and not contrasts it
to the world within living creatures. The problem with Galileo\'s view is that
it pioneers a scientific outlook but never actually fulfills it.
Newton believes the world is ultimately made up of hard particles that
can retain different properties. The central properties are solid, massy,
impenetrable, and movable particles. He believes God created matter in the
beginning in such a way to allow the particles to take on mathematical forms.
His approach is a scientific one because he practices the continual interaction
of experiment and theory. It is the hard particles that move in such a way that
can be assigned certain mathematical principles that clearly explain the
interaction of bodies. Newton\'s conclusion seems to be a strong one because it
deals with the world being made up of particles and shows how these particles
act with each other in a way that can be explained scientifically. I like the
idea of organized flow in the world and God being the creator of it all. The
mathematical/scientific approach offers explanation to how the particles are
moving. Galileo and Newton differ in certain aspects of their understanding of
the physical world. Galileo doesn\'t put much emphasis on the role of creativity
in science. Newton believes in the mathematical and experimentation outlook of
science pioneered by Galileo but he believed that new concepts are the product
of creative imagination. He felt that math should explain the concepts imagined.
Newton extended ideas pioneered by Galileo on issues of forces, masses, shapes,
and forms. Newton didn\'t feel that the scientific theory needed to answer every
question asked about a phenomenon in order to be useful.
Galileo and Newton make a strong argument for the lack of purposes or
values in nature. Their scientific minds sought answers on a logical scale.
They could analyze the material world through calculations and in this math was
suitable explanation. In the study of physics, purposes are irrelevant.
Physics looks for the mathematical explanation of concepts and doesn\'t need to
analyze the purpose behind such. It is concerned simply with what happens and
how it is happening. The philosophy of physics could extend the concepts to
incorporate purpose. The world is the product of the chance concourse of atoms.
Everything is comprised of atoms and it makes up the known world to which
mathematical principles analyze. If there are no purposes in the universe and
this fact is supported through scientific study, then there is purpose in that
science works to break down the material world to series of facts that are
constantly adapting to one another.
The world view introduced by seventeenth century mechanists is science.
Science became the answer or way to the answer. Aristotelian view is concerned
with the final state whereas as the scientists thought the important information
was the entire process, or efficient causes. It is also concerned with the
purposes and values that are at work in nature while mechanists see nature as a
mechanism that operates blindly, and the forces of nature are in themselves
entirely indifferent to purposes or values. Newton, in opposition