•  1280
    It is argued that, contrary to prevailing opinion, Bas van Fraassen nowhere uses the argument from underdetermination in his argument for constructive empiricism. It is explained that van Fraassen’s use of the notion of empirical equivalence in The Scientific Image has been widely misunderstood. A reconstruction of the main arguments for constructive empiricism is offered, showing how the passages that have been taken to be part of an appeal to the argument from underdetermination should actuall…Read more
  •  847
    The Paradox of Conceptual Novelty and Galileo’s Use of Experiments
    Philosophy of Science 72 (5): 864-875. 2005.
    Starting with a discussion of what I call Koyré’s paradox of conceptual novelty, I introduce the ideas of Damerow et al. on the establishment of classical mechanics in Galileo’s work. I then argue that although the view of Damerow et al. on the nature of Galileo’s conceptual innovation is convincing, it misses an essential element: Galileo’s use of the experiments described in the first day of the Two New Sciences. I describe these experiments and analyze their function. Central to my analysis i…Read more
  •  840
    Recent years saw the rise of an interest in the roles and significance of thought experiments in different areas of human thinking. Heisenberg's gamma ray microscope is no doubt one of the most famous examples of a thought experiment in physics. Nevertheless, this particular thought experiment has not received much detailed attention in the philosophical literature on thought experiments up to date, maybe because of its often claimed inadequacies. In this paper, I try to do two things: to provid…Read more
  •  777
    Renaissance concept of impetus
    with Ivan Malara
    Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy. 2019.
    The concept of impetus denoted the transmission of a power from the mover to the object moved. Many authors resorted to this concept to explain why a projectile keeps on moving when no longer in contact with its initial mover. But its application went further, as impetus was also appealed to in attempts to explain the acceleration of falling bodies or the motion of the heavens. It was widely applied in Renaissance natural philosophy, but it also raised a number of ontological questions concernin…Read more
  •  684
    Dynamics of reason and the Kantian project
    Philosophy of Science 76 (5): 689-700. 2009.
    I show why Michael Friedman’s idea that we should view new constitutive frameworks introduced in paradigm change as members of a convergent series introduces an uncomfortable tension in his views. It cannot be justified on realist grounds, as this would compromise his Kantian perspective, but his own appeal to a Kantian regulative ideal of reason cannot do the job either. I then explain a way to make better sense of the rationality of paradigm change on what I take to be Friedman’s own terms.
  •  657
    On the epistemological foundations of the law of the lever
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (3): 315-318. 2009.
    In this paper I challenge Paolo Palmieri’s reading of the Mach-Vailati debate on Archimedes’s proof of the law of the lever. I argue that the actual import of the debate concerns the possible epistemic (as opposed to merely pragmatic) role of mathematical arguments in empirical physics, and that construed in this light Vailati carries the upper hand. This claim is defended by showing that Archimedes’s proof of the law of the lever is not a way of appealing to a non-empirical source of informatio…Read more
  •  576
    Hoe Galileo Galilei de valwet ontdekte, en het verschil dat dit maakt
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 113 (1): 81-105. 2021.
    How Galileo Galilei discovered the law of fall, and the difference that this makes Galileo’s law of fall is one of the crucial building blocks of classical mechanics. The question how this law was discovered has often been a topic of debate. This article offers a reconstruction of the developments within Galileo’s research that led to the discovery of the law. This reconstruction is offered to make a philosophical point regarding the epistemic status of experimental results: Galileo’s experiment…Read more
  •  514
    Mechanical philosophy: science of mechanics
    Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences. 2020.
  •  491
    Applying Mathematics to Nature
    In David Marshall Miller & Dana Jalobeanu (eds.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy of the Scientific Revolution, Cambridge University Press. pp. 254-273. 2021.
  •  394
    Renaissance Idea of Natural Law
    Encylopedia of Renaissance Philosophy. 2018.
    The introduction of laws of nature is often seen as one of the hallmarks of the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century. The new sciences are thought to have introduced the revolutionary idea that explanations of natural phenomena have to be grounded in exceptionless regularities of universal scope, i. e. laws of nature. The use of legal terminology to talk about natural regularities has a longer history, though. This article traces these earlier uses.
  •  376
    Idealization and Galileo’s Proto-Inertial Principle
    Philosophy of Science 85 (5): 919-929. 2018.
    Galileo proposed what has been called a proto-inertial principle, according to which a body un horizontal motion will conserve its motion. This statement is only true in counterfactual circumstances where no impediments are present. This paper analyzes how Galileo could have been justified in ascribing definite properties to this idealized motion. This analysis is then used to better understand the relation of Galileo’s proto-inertial principle to the classical inertial principle.
  •  326
  •  246
    Causality and the reduction to art of Simon Stevin's mechanics
    In Karel Davids, Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis, Ida Stamhuis & Rienk Vermij (eds.), Rethinking Stevin, Stevin rethinking : constructions of a Dutch polymath, Nuncius. pp. 155-181. 2020.
  •  218
    Horology
    Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences. 2020.
    Horology refers to the measurement of time, as well as the art of building instruments with which to study and measure time. There were two important developments in the early modern period: the dramatic improvement of the quality of mechanical clocks due to highly skilled craftsmen, and the introduction of the pendulum as time-keeper in the escapement mechanism. The latter innovation not only allowed a further jump in precision, it also had important conceptual implications.
  •  214
    Del Monte, Guidobaldo
    Encylopedia of Renaissance Philosophy. 2019.
  •  168
    Varieties of wonder: John Wilkins' Mathematical Magic and the perpetuity of invention
    with Koen Vermeir
    Historia Mathematica 41 (4): 463-489. 2014.
    Akin to the mathematical recreations, John Wilkins' Mathematicall Magick (1648) elaborates the pleasant, useful and wondrous part of practical mathematics, dealing in particular with its material culture of machines and instruments. We contextualize the Mathematicall Magick by studying its institutional setting and its place within changing conceptions of art, nature, religion and mathematics. We devote special attention to the way Wilkins inscribes mechanical innovations within a discourse of w…Read more
  •  167
    An Archeaology of Galileo's Science of Motion
    Dissertation, University of Ghent. 2006.
  •  149
    Michel Foucault, epistemoloog
    de Uil Van Minerva 32 (2): 174-179. 2021.
  •  139
    Script and Symbolic Writing in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy
    Foundations of Science 19 (1): 1-10. 2014.
    We introduce the question whether there are specific kinds of writing modalities and practices that facilitated the development of modern science and mathematics. We point out the importance and uniqueness of symbolic writing, which allowed early modern thinkers to formulate a new kind of questions about mathematical structure, rather than to merely exploit this structure for solving particular problems. In a very similar vein, the novel focus on abstract structural relations allowed for creativ…Read more
  •  132
    Wetenschappers en hun geschiedenis
    Karakter 72 22-24. 2020.
  •  131
    Unification and explanation
    with Erik Weber
    Synthese 131 (1). 2002.
    In this article we criticize two recent articles that examinethe relation between explanation and unification. Halonen and Hintikka (1999), on the one hand,claim that no unification is explanation. Schurz (1999), on the other hand, claims that all explanationis unification. We give counterexamples to both claims. We propose a pluralistic approach to the problem:explanation sometimes consists in unification, but in other cases different kinds of explanation(e.g., causal explanation) are required;…Read more
  •  69
    The debate between realism and antirealism has been central in the general philosophy of science of the last decades. But ever since the heydays of the debate in the 1980s, there have been authors who have tried to argue for the overcoming or dissolution of the debate itself, by proposing a position that is neither realist nor antirealist. Prominent among these is Joseph Rouse (Rouse 1987). Yet, Jeff Kochan has recently argued that Rouse, despite his efforts to transcend the realism/antirealism …Read more
  •  46
    In the past 25 years, many philosophers have endorsed the view that the practical value of causal knowledge lies in the fact that manipulation of causes is a good way to bring about a desired change in the effect. This view is intuitively very plausible. For instance, we can predict a storm on the basis of a barometer reading, but we cannot avoid the storm by manipulating the state of the barometer (barometer status and storm are effects of a common cause, viz. atmospheric conditions). In §1 we …Read more
  •  45
    In the past 25 years, many philosophers have endorsed the view that the practical value of causal knowledge lies in the fact that manipulation of causes is a good way to bring about a desired change in the effect. This view is intuitively very plausible. For instance, we can predict a storm on the basis of a barometer reading, but we cannot avoid the storm by manipulating the state of the barometer (barometer status and storm are effects of a common cause, viz. atmospheric conditions). In Sectio…Read more
  •  36
    In this article we criticize two recent articles that examine the relation between explanation and unification. Halonen and Hintikka (1999), on the one hand, claim that no unification is explanation. Schurz (1999), on the other hand, claims that all explanation is unification. We give counterexamples to both claims. We propose a pluralistic approach to the problem: explanation sometimes consists in unification, but in other cases different kinds of explanation (e.g., causal explanation) are requ…Read more