Peter Galison

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I need help understanding what exactly Peter Galison thinks drives scientific breakthroughs. In his essay "Einstein's Clocks: The Place of Time" he talks about the breakthroughs due to mechanisms and metaphysics. But I'm having hard time understanding exactly why this is.

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Blake Douglas eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Towards the end of the essay, Galison sums up several points, which I believe are the answer to your question:

  1. Science has traditionally been concerned with "things and thoughts" - mechanisms and metaphysics.
  2. The "bottom-up" view, also known as empiricism, has traditionally looked strictly at things, and required that thoughts emerge from them as an explanation. Thoughts follow things.
  3. The "top-down" view, also known as idealism, has traditionally looked for patterns, symmetry and connections, leading to theories which then inform the experiments and investigations conducted to pursue them. Things follow thoughts.
  4. Einstein's innovation...

    (The entire section contains 289 words.)

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