Galileo and His Sources

Galileo and His Sources: Heritage of the Collegio Romano in Galileo's Science

William A. Wallace
Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 386
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  • Book Info
    Galileo and His Sources
    Book Description:

    William A. Wallace demonstrates the importance of two early manuscripts of Galileo dismissed by earlier researchers as juvenile exercises. Analyzing all his scientific writings from the late 1580s to 1610 and from 1610 to 1640, this book illuminates both the sources and the evolution of Galileo's thought.

    Originally published in 1984.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5793-7
    Subjects: Astronomy, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    William A. Wallace
  5. PART ONE Textual Analysis
    • CHAPTER 1 Sources of Galileo’s Logical Questions
      (pp. 3-53)

      Much is already known about the life of Galileo Galilei, particularly his discoveries and the polemics surrounding the publication of his principal works on astronomy and the science of mechanics. Considerably less is known about his early period, that from his birth at Pisa in 1564 to his perfection of the telescope at Padua in 1609, when the intellectual foundations were laid for most of his later work. Historians are aware that his preliminary studies were made at the Monastery of Vallombrosa near Florence, after which he entered the University of Pisa in 1581 with the intention of pursuing a...

    • CHAPTER 2 Sources of Galileo’s Physical Questions
      (pp. 54-96)

      Previous studies of the materials in Galileo’s MS 46, with its questions on the universe and the elements—called the physical questions mainly to distinguish them from the logical questions of MS 27—show that these are based on, and probably were extracted from, writings of Jesuit professors at the Collegio Romano.¹ These studies likewise reveal that the physical questions, unlike the logical questions, can be correlated with a wide range of passages in manuscripts and printed books dating from as early as 1566 and as late as 1597.² Indeed, the large number of textual parallels turned up unduly complicates...

  6. PART TWO Science at the Collegio Romano
    • CHAPTER 3 Sciences and Demonstrative Methods
      (pp. 99-148)

      The notion of science that was current when Galileo began his teaching career at the University of Pisa is different from that of the present day. While sharing in some characteristics, such as the publicly verifiable aspect of the knowledge it produced, the science of his day made more stringent claims to certitude and infallibility than does that of the modern era. The Aristotelian ideal of scientific knowledge is that ofcognitio certa per causas,that is, knowledge that is certain through causes, or knowledge that cannot be otherwise because it is based on the causes that make things be...

    • CHAPTER 4 The Study of Local Motion
      (pp. 149-216)

      Most attempts that have been made to fill out the background of Galileo’s study of local motion have focused on the writings of philosophers in the universities of northern Italy or on those of applied mathematicians in the Archimedean tradition working largely outside the universities. Jesuit mathematicians such as Clavius have attracted attention mainly because of their astronomical writings, but they seemingly left no works dealing with the quantitative aspects of local motion, nor was this a field in which courses were offered at the Collegio Romano or other Jesuitstudia. The striking parallels between Galileo’s Latin compositions and those...

  7. PART THREE Galileo’s Science in Transition
    • CHAPTER 5 Galileo’s Earlier Science (Before 1610)
      (pp. 219-280)

      The materials surveyed in the preceding two chapters are very extensive, and it is no simple matter to relate them to Galileo’s logical and physical questions and to his other writings in his early and late years. Part of the difficulty stems from the sheer number and extent of Galileo’s compositions, which fill the twenty volumes of his collected works in the National Edition. The problem is compounded when one considers the vast literature that has grown up around these works, especially in recent years, when historians and philosophers of every persuasion have set themselves the task of interpreting Galileo...

    • CHAPTER 6 Galileo’s Later Science (After 1610)
      (pp. 281-350)

      As 1609 drew to a close Galileo was already past mid-life and could look back on a series of respectable accomplishments: his competence as a mathematician was recognized, he was valued as a teacher, and he had had considerable success as an instrument maker. He had not published anything significant, however, and he was hardly known outside the confines of Tuscany and the Venetian Republic. His work with the telescope changed all that, for shortly after the publication of theSidereus nunciusin March of 1610 his name was known and his fame resounded all over Europe. Such prominence gained...

    (pp. 351-362)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 363-371)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 372-372)