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Using Representations of Space to Study Early Modern Physical Science: An Example of Philosophy in the Service of History

Miller, David Marshall (2007) Using Representations of Space to Study Early Modern Physical Science: An Example of Philosophy in the Service of History. In: [2007] &HPS1: Integrated History and Philosophy of Science 1.

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    Abstract

    Most historians of science eagerly acknowledge that the early modern period witnessed a shift from a prevailing Aristotelian, spherical, centered conception of space to a prevailing Cartesian, rectilinear, oriented spatial framework. Indeed, this shift underlay many of the important advances for which the period is celebrated. However, historians have failed to engage the general conceptual shift, focusing instead on the particular explanatory developments that resulted. This historical lacuna can be attributed to a historiographical problem: the lack of an adequate unit of analysis by which to investigate the conceptual change. Here, a philosophical argument is made for representations of space as an appropriate category of historical investigation, and methods of textual interrogation are suggested to this end. Finally, two examples, taken from Aristotle and Newton, demonstrate the feasibility and importance of this project.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Keywords: representation of space conceptual framework historiography
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
    General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
    General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
    Conferences and Volumes: [2007] &HPS1: Integrated History and Philosophy of Science 1
    Depositing User: David Marshall Miller
    Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2007
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:15
    Item ID: 3504
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/3504

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