Give a real life example of a misleading interpretation of empirical reasoning. Provide your reasons.

An example of a misleading interpretation of empirical reasoning can be imagined if someone was to recreate Galileo's experiment of dropping two differently weighted objects from the Tower of Pisa. If someone was to drop a cannonball and a feather, rather than different weights of cannonballs, the two objects would fall at different speeds, seeming to disprove Galileo's explanation of gravity. However, that conclusion does not take air resistance or surface area into consideration, making it fallacious.

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Consider Galileo's famous experiment in which he dropped two cannonballs of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa and observed that they both hit the ground at the same time. From this, he hypothesized that mass doesn't affect the speed at which an object "falls," or is pulled toward...

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Consider Galileo's famous experiment in which he dropped two cannonballs of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa and observed that they both hit the ground at the same time. From this, he hypothesized that mass doesn't affect the speed at which an object "falls," or is pulled toward the ground by gravity.

But say you wanted to recreate the experiment. You would want a really heavy object, so you choose the biggest cannonball Galileo had; and you would want a really light object, so you choose a feather.

When you drop the cannonball and the feather from the Leaning Tower of Pisa at the same time, the cannonball hits the ground first. It's not even close. You have to stand around for several minutes after the cannonball hits waiting for the feather to reach the ground.

"Aha!" you say to yourself. "My empirical observation shows me that these two objects of differing mass did NOT hit the ground at the same time! Galileo's interpretation of his empirical observation must be wrong!"

Is it? In this case, no. Your interpretation of your empirical observation—that mass does affect the rate at which two objects fall—is wrong.

Here, it's wrong because it's missing some key information: When objects are dropping through air, there are more factors at play than just mass and gravity. Once you account for those factors, you can amend your initial interpretation and better understand why your initial interpretation and Galileo's differed from one another. This is the process by which science builds knowledge over time.

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