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Although recent works on Galileo’s trial have reached new heights of erudition, documentation, and sophistication, they often exhibit inflated complexities, neglect 400 years of historiography, or make little effort to learn from Galileo. This book strives to avoid such lacunae by judiciously comparing and contrasting the two Galileo affairs, that is, the original controversy over the earth’s motion ending with his condemnation by the Inquisition in 1633, and the subsequent controversy over the rightness of that condemnation continuing to our day. The book argues that the Copernican Revolution required that the hypothesis of the earth’s motion be not only constructively supported with new reasons and evidence, but also critically defended from numerous old and new objections. This defense in turn required not only the destructive refutation, but also the appreciative understanding of those objections in all their strength. A major Galilean accomplishment was to elaborate such a reasoned, critical, and fair-minded defense of Copernicanism. Galileo’s trial can be interpreted as a series of ecclesiastic attempts to stop him from so defending Copernicus. And an essential thread of the subsequent controversy has been the emergence of many arguments claiming that his condemnation was right, as well as defenses of Galileo from such criticisms. The book’s particular yet overarching thesis is that today the proper defense of Galileo can and should have the reasoned, critical, and fair-minded character which his own defense of Copernicus had.
In 1633 the Roman Inquisition condemned Galileo as a suspected heretic for defending the astronomical theory that the earth moves, and implicitly assuming the theological principle that Scripture is not scientific authority. This controversial event has sent ripples down the centuries, embodying the struggle between a thinker who came to be regarded as the Father of Modern Science, and an institution that is both one of the world's greatest religions and most ancient organizations. The trial has been cited both as a clear demonstration of the incompatibility between science and religion, and also a stunning exemplar of rationality, scientific method, and critical thinking. Much has been written about Galileo's trial, but most works argue from a particular point of view - that of secular science against the Church, or justifying the religious position. Maurice Finocchiaro aims to provide a balanced historical account that draws out the cultural nuances. Unfolding the intriguing narrative of Galileo's trial, he sets it against its contemporary intellectual and philosophical background. In particular, Finocchiaro focuses on the contemporary arguments and evidence for and against the Earth's motion, which were based on astronomical observation, the physics of motion, philosophical principles about the nature of knowledge, and theological principles about the authority and the interpretation of Scripture. Following both sides of the controversy and its far-reaching philosophical impact, Finocchiaro unravels the complex relationship between science and religion, and demonstrates how Galileo came to be recognised as a model of logical reasoning.
In 1633 the Roman Inquisition condemned Galileo as a suspected heretic for defending the astronomical theory that the earth moves, and implicitly assuming the theological principle that Scripture is not scientific authority. This controversial event has sent ripples down the centuries, embodying the struggle between a thinker who came to be regarded as the Father of Modern Science, and an institution that is both one of the world's greatest religions and most ancient organizations. The trial has been cited both as a clear demonstration of the incompatibility between science and religion, and also a stunning exemplar of rationality, scientific method, and critical thinking. Much has been written about Galileo's trial, but most works argue from a particular point of view - that of secular science against the Church, or justifying the religious position. Maurice Finocchiaro aims to provide a balanced historical account that draws out the cultural nuances. Unfolding the intriguing narrative of Galileo's trial, he sets it against its contemporary intellectual and philosophical background. In particular, Finocchiaro focuses on the contemporary arguments and evidence for and against the Earth's motion, which were based on astronomical observation, the physics of motion, philosophical principles about the nature of knowledge, and theological principles about the authority and the interpretation of Scripture. Following both sides of the controversy and its far-reaching philosophical impact, Finocchiaro unravels the complex relationship between science and religion, and demonstrates how Galileo came to be recognised as a model of logical reasoning.
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