What Does Galileo's Discovery of Jupiter's Moons Tell Us About the Process of Scientific Discovery?

Lawson, Anton E. (2002) What Does Galileo's Discovery of Jupiter's Moons Tell Us About the Process of Scientific Discovery? Science & Education, 11 (1). ISSN 0926-7220, 1573-1901

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Abstract

In 1610, Galileo Galilei discovered Jupiter'smoons with the aid of a new morepowerful telescope of his invention. Analysisof his report reveals that his discoveryinvolved the use of at least three cycles ofhypothetico-deductive reasoning. Galileofirst used hypothetico-deductive reasoning to generateand reject a fixed star hypothesis.He then generated and rejected an ad hocastronomers-made-a-mistake hypothesis.Finally, he generated, tested, and accepted a moonhypothesis. Galileo's reasoningis modeled in terms of Piaget's equilibration theory,Grossberg's theory of neurologicalactivity, a neural network model proposed by Levine &Prueitt, and another proposedby Kosslyn & Koenig. Given that hypothetico-deductivereasoning has played a rolein other important scientific discoveries, thequestion is asked whether it plays a rolein all important scientific discoveries. In otherwords, is hypothetico-deductive reasoningthe essence of the scientific method? Possiblealternative scientific methods, such asBaconian induction and combinatorial analysis,are explored and rejected as viablealternatives. Educational implications of thishypothetico-deductive view of scienceare discussed.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
Depositing User: Mr Saeed Salimpour
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2018 08:37
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2018 05:21
URI: http://istardb.org/id/eprint/1904

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