Galileo: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short by Stillman Drake

By Stillman Drake

In a startling reinterpretation of Galileo's trial, Stillman Drake advances the speculation that Galileo's prosecution and condemnation by way of the Inquisition was once brought on no longer by means of his defiance of the Church yet by means of the hostility of latest philosophers. Galileo's personal fantastically lucid arguments are utilized in this quantity to teach how his clinical technique used to be totally divorced from the Aristotelian method of physics; it was once in accordance with a seek now not for reasons yet for legislation. Galileo's tools had an overpowering importance for the improvement of recent physics, they usually resulted in a last parting of the methods among technological know-how and philosophy. Now, during this striking and concise advent, Drake presents a stimulating view of Galileo's existence and works, supplying a clean viewpoint on Galileo's method and his ultimate incrimination.


"An fascinating and stimulating advent to the existence and works of Galileo through the doyen of Galilean reports. the writer stories the interaction of mathematical reasoning and actual experimentation within the genesis of the legislation of unfastened fall and within the employment of Galileo's methodology."--Mathematical reports

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Extra info for Galileo: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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For when I see them being obstinate about sustaining propositions which I personally know to be transparently false, and trying to persuade me that what they are doing is truly philosophical and would be done by Aristotle himself, it much weakens my opinion that he philosophised correctly about other matters, more recondite to me. (D 111) Galileo’s De motu was better than its printed rivals and contained things not previously known. It would have been advantageous to him to publish something in his quest for a better position.

Until about 1602 Galileo had been mainly occupied at Padua with practical rather than with theoretical investigations. During that year he completely revised his treatise on mechanics and resumed his earlier studies of natural motion, discovering his first two correct theorems concerning motions along inclined planes. It is of interest that both theorems were derived from Galileo’s old incorrect assumptions in De motu. We tend to suppose that correct conclusions cannot be obtained by valid reasoning from false assumptions, though only the reverse is the case – that is, incorrect conclusions cannot be logically deduced from true assumptions.

Guidobaldo tried experiments using the rim of a large winnowing sieve and found it not true, to which Galileo replied that unevenness and friction might interfere and could be eliminated by substituting a long pendulum. Clearly he was concerned with actual experiments and had become good at designing them, though in the same letter he remarked that absolute agreement with mathematical exactitude was not to be expected. His work with pendulums at this time suggested to Santorio the invention of the ‘pulsilogium’ for use in medical diagnosis, often wrongly credited to Galileo in his student days.

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