Scientific Empiricism

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Scientific Empiricism In 1513, Nicholas Copernicus, composed a brief theory that stated that the sun is at rest and the earth is in rotation around the sun. In 1543, just days before his death, Copernicus published this theory in On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. This theory was meant to dissolve the long lived belief in Ptolemyís theory which stated, "The earth was at the center because it was the heaviest of objects(Kagan331)." This was a common belief at that time, which supported the religious beliefs that the earth was the center of the universe and God in the heavens were surrounding the earth. Copernicusís theory was shocking, but he published such a controversial theory without sufficient evidence, it had to be considered invalid. Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer, held a great belief in the importance of empiricism in relation to scientific theories. He was one of the greatest opposer of Copernicusís On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. Brahe believed the Copernicus theory was not founded on a sufficient amount of "practice." Charles W. Morris, an author of The Encyclopedia and Unified Science who specialized in Scientific Empiricism, believes that practice is found at the heart of empiricism. Morris defines the importance of practice in scientific theories as: "The activity which gives rise to the sentences of science is, like any other systematic activity proceeding in terms of rules or canons(72)." It was based on these feelings of empiricism that inspired Brahe to, "collect the most accurate astronomical data that have ever been acquired by observation with the naked eye(Kagan331)." Brahe held the common belief among empiricist that, "It is willing and able to admit i... ... middle of paper ... ... been the underlying factor in many scientific advancements. Morris believes that, "It is an empiricism which, because of this orientation and the use of powerful tools of logical analysis, has become positive in temper and co-operative in attitude and is no longer condemned to the negative skeptical task of showing defects in the methods and results of its opponents(Neurath68)." The great accomplishments of Brahe, Kepler, Newton and the many others are due to the advancement of scientific empiricism. Works Cited - Kagan, Donald, Ozment, Steven, and Turner, Frank M.. The Western Heritage. Vol. 2. New Jersey:Prentice Hall, 1996 - MacKinnon, Edward A.. The Problem of Scientific Realism. New York: Appleton-Century- Crofts, 1972. - Neurath, Otto, et al. Encyclopedia and Unified Science. Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1938.

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