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The eagle and the starlings: Galileo’s argument for the autonomy of science—how pertinent is it today?

Authors
Journal
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A
0039-3681
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
43
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2011.10.012
Keywords
  • Galileo Galilei
  • Autonomy Of Science
  • ‘Two Books’
  • Impartiality
  • Neutrality
  • Scientific Ethos

Abstract

Abstract After Galileo’s argument for the autonomy of science is analysed and adapted to take into account later developments of scientific practices, we conclude that, in the final analysis, it is not compelling. Nevertheless, Galileo’s argument still provides a useful point of reference, for aspects of it can be interpreted to anticipate central components of the often acclaimed ideal of science as value free, so that appraising it contributes to the larger purpose of exploring how well that ideal stands up today. Finally, we will argue that residue from Galileo’s struggle with the Church remains with us, making it difficult to identify the conditions that would need to be put into place today for any robust sense of the autonomy of science to be defensible.

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