Ruth Edith Hagengruber: Teaching Hypotheses

How is science made? This is the big idea, usually attributed to Kant, but already expressed and formulated by  Du Châtelet.

The first idea of those who applied themselves to this science just like the first idea of all other men, must have been that the Sun and all the celestial bodies turned around the Earth in twenty-four hours. Thus, they began to explain and to predict phenomena by this hypothesis, called Ptolemy’s hypothesis, until the insurmountable difficulties of the consequences that derived from it when compared with observations, and the impossibility of constructing tables according to this hypothesis which were in accord with the phenomena of the sky, brought Copernicus to abandon it entirely and to test the opposite hypothesis, which is so much in agreement with the phenomena, that its certitude is at present not far from demonstration; and that no astronomer dares adopt that of Ptolemy (IP 1740eZ  4.57).  

See: Émilie Du Châtelet: Teaching Hypotheses, World Congress of Philosophy, Rome, day xxx, room xxx

Back to top  

You cannot copy content of this page