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A Comparison of Methods of Galileo Galilei & Rudolf Carnap

Galileo Galilei (from 16th century) and Rudolf Carnap (from 19th century) has their important contributions in the Experimental methods of science. Here we are going to compare and analyse both methods to reach to an effective conclusion.

1. The Experimental method of Rudolf Carnap has given a new introduction to the Philosophy of science. In his experimental methods, Carnap talks about the preliminary experiments in scientific procedures. The preliminary experiments allow a scientist to rectify any significant errors and make proper conclusions. Whereas in Galileo’s methods of Experiments, hypothesis has an important role to play. Galileo reports to have done multiple experiments to prove his hypothesis statements. Example- Ball rolling down inclined planes reaching equal velocities.

2. According to Carnap, cultural beliefs has an influence in selecting the relevant topics for experiments. For Galileo, rejection of cultural beliefs becomes important for the method of reasoning to follow. Moreover, cultural beliefs sometimes block the reasoning patterns of humans.

3. While discussing methods, it’s important to note that both the scientists prefer Quantitative methods for the Experimental procedures. Quantitative methods help in analysing the empirical data efficiently for the lesser probability of errors. The magnitude (temperature, pressure, volume) and variables should be accurate as per the methods of both. Also, the mathematical calculation is an important step for proving an experiment valid. Galileo placed greater value on his mathematical analysis of ideal cause & abstractions as compared to Experiments.

4. Instruments of measurement have an important role to conduct an experiment. For Galileo, Telescope has given an important evidence of the rocky surface of the moon. Carnap also clarifies the role of instruments in experiments of Boyle’s and Charles’s Law.  

5. For Galileo, observation of a phenomenon comes prior to the hypothesis formation. He was an astronomer and made the hypothesis of diurnal motion of Earth by looking at the stars.

Carnap explanation of Boyle’s Law and Charles’s Law in his text proves that it’s important to have a proper methodology in experiments. The magnitude must be measured accurately and the conclusion is formed by repeated observations.        
Carnap has even talked about the social experiments in his text. This social experiment is tougher than the astronomical observation of Galileo. It is because there is a pattern in natural science, whereas one would find no repeated patterns in social observations. Also, social patterns keeps on changing with the passage of time.

With this we come to a conclusion that there is a lot of similarities in scientific methods of Galileo and Carnap. They both have their individual perspectives towards the methods of exploration. This outlook gives us confidence and freedom to develop our own approaches and ideas while attaining the truth.

Author: Madhvi

A philosopher, Writer, Traveler, PhD Scholar, Vegan and pet-lover.

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