Tuesday, January 08, 2013

It’s About Domains of Expertise

Posted by Darin Hayton on 01/08 at 02:00 PM

Some great suggestions on Cleaning Up Science but some questionable history of science:

In the long run, science is self-correcting. Ptolemy’s epicycles were replaced by Copernicus’s heliocentric system.

Well, not really.

Copernicus replaced the equant and freely used eccentrics and epicycles for purposes of calculation.

Robert Westman, The Copernican Question (2011), 215. (Or, see the entry for Nicolaus Copernicus at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.)

Just as a particular expertise is required to make valid scientific claims, so too there is an expertise required to make valid claims about the history of science. Expertise is not fungible.

Tags: expertise, nicolaus copernicus, robert westman


Comment posted by Thony C. on 01/08 at 03:22 PM

The belief that Copernicus disposed of Ptolemy’s epicycles is unfortunately a common error.

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