IMJ-PRG CNRS - UPMC - Paris Diderot

Carla Rita Palmerino - Radboud University

Séminaire Histoire des sciences mathématiques

Galileo’s mathematical realism

mercredi 14 novembre 2018 à 11:00
Jussieu, couloir 15-16, salle 413

4, Place Jussieu
75005 Paris

In the Assayer, Galileo famously claimed that the book of nature “is written in the language of mathematics” and that “its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word of it.” In other passages of his works, however, Galileo seems to suggest that physical phenomena do not obey exact mathematical laws. This has led some scholars to conclude that there is an inconsistency between Galileo’s practice of science and his professed mathematical realism. In my lecture I will challenge this interpretation and show that Galileo’s views concerning the relation between mathematical and physical truths are internally consistent and rely on sound ontological and epistemological arguments.

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