Defending Copernicus and Galileo: Critical Reasoning in the Two Affairs

Defending Copernicus and Galileo: Critical Reasoning in the Two Affairs

by Maurice A. Finocchiaro


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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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789048132027
Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York, LLC
Publication date: 07/24/2010
Pages: 396
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.81(d)

Table of Contents

Detailed Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: A Galilean Approach to the Galileo Affair
Part I: Defending Copernicus
1. The Geostatic Worldview
2. The Copernican Controversy
3. Galileo’s Stances toward Copernican Astronomy
4.Galilean Critiques of the Biblical Objection
5. Galileo on the Mathematical Physics of Terrestrial Extrusion
6. Galilean Rationality in the Copernican Revolution
Part II: Defending Galileo
7. The Trial of Galileo, 1613-1633
8. The Galileo Affair, 1633-1992
9. Galileo Right for the Wrong Reasons?
10. Galileo as a Bad Theologian?
11. Galileo as a Bad Epistemologist?
12. Galileo as a Symbol of Science vs. Religion?
Selected Bibliography

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