we present a number of findings concerning galileo's major discoveries which question both the methods and the results of dating his achievements by common historiographic criteria. the dating of galileo's discoveries is, however, not our primary concern. this paper is intended to contribute to a critical reexamination of the notion of discovery from the point of view of historical epistemology. we claim that the puzzling course of galileo's discoveries is not an exceptional comedy of errors but rather illustrates the normal way in which scientific progress is achieved. we argue that scientific knowledge generally develops not as a sequence of independent discoveries accumulating to a new body of knowledge but rather as a network of interdependent activities which only as a whole makes the individual steps understandable as meaningful “discoveries.”
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