Philosophy 167: Class 4 - Part 13 - Galileo: the Assigned Reading, and the Significance of Sidereus Nuncius and Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.

Smith, George E. (George Edwin), 1938-


  • Synopsis: Overview of the assigned readings.

    Opening line: "Second thing is the reading for next week. I've already told you, say some more about it, and there's a problem."

    Duration: 5:29 minutes.

    Segment: Class 4, Part 13.
This object is in collection Subject Genre Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
TARC Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
view transcript only

Second thing is the reading for next week. I've already told you, say some more about it, and there's a problem. The problem is the Galileo Dialogue on Two World Systems has the same exact edition, has come out in two different publishers. University of California Press for 40 years and now for Steve Gould before he died to make money, and for the great heirs to make money in Random House.
The pagination is totally different. So anybody's who's working from that I've given you a separate pagination okay? And it's all on well you can picture what happens. I give the pagination I prefer and students come back saying, why in the world did you have me read those portions?
And of course they're totally the wrong portions, cuz the pagination is so different. So now I've taken care of it. Now a couple words about this reading before I get to the main thing for tonight, the two works by Galileo. Well, let's just start with the Curtis Wilson.
The Curtis Wilson is a long article. Its existence is what convinced me in 1987, to try to teach this course for the first time. And it's gonna be the backbone of most of the rest of this semester. You're only reading the initial portion of it. For this class you'll keep coming back and go all the way through.
You see what it says from Kepler's Law so called universal gravity, empirical considerations. And it had a huge influence on me and as I say, it convinced me to do the course. Now the two books by Galileo, one can legitimately say, and I don't like normally this kind of hyperbola, these are two of the most important publications in the history of Western civilization, for totally different reasons.
[INAUDIBLE} is important because it suddenly taught all of humanity in Europe, all these people who thought knowledge had reached such an advanced point and we knew so much about the world. And scholasticism had accomplished so much. And you suddenly discover you haven't got a clue about the world.
Okay? And it was a total shock to everybody. And it's a simply beautiful book. I've put it on reserve. I'd prefer you to read it in the hard bound because of the rest of that book, discoveries and opinions of Galileo are very good. But I've also put it up for people.
It's worth reading. You can read it in an afternoon. And I'll tell you more about it last week, but the way I'll try to sell it, when I first taught this course my daughter, I have twin daughters. One of my daughters, Jean, took the book off my desk.
The opinions, and a set of discoveries and opinions of Galileo. Read Starry Messenger, came back and says, I want a telescope. The telescope is the one in my office. That she grew out of for reasons that are different. But if an eight year old reads that and decides they want a telescope, it gets it it really does convey.
She had no idea the historical importance of it, but it excited her so much that she wanted it. This book of course, is a major work in the history of Western civilization because it put the church and science in conflict with one another. With the issue being who's gonna be the ultimate arbiter, science or the church?
And I'll talk about the actual event next week. I'm not a great fan of this book, as you will discover. I had to read four books outside courses as a freshman, it was one of them. Not this translation, the original The Santiana variant on the translation Newton read.
Newton read this book, it's written in Italian not Latin. Newton read this book in an English translation by Silas Burke from the 17th century and Santiana updated it. This is a much better translation in many respects, but it's a book everybody should read sometime in their life for a different reason than the church and science.
It's got to be the best Polemic ever written I mean, for those who admire Polemesis and Nome Chomski's been a close friend of mine for years and he's an extreme Polemicist and Galileo is his great hero. This book just outdoes all the other Polemic's, it is a masterpiece of Polemic's and we'll talk next week why that got him in such trouble.
But of course, it did not please people to be ridiculed. Including the Pope being ridiculed, whether that was intentional or not. Okay so, the reading for next week is monumental. I don't apologize to having you buy a copy of Dialogue's of Two Chief World Systems cuz as I say, I think everybody should read it sometime in their life.
We will go much more slowly the next two weeks after this, through the path of Galileo's, half of Galileo's two new sciences, because that really matters. This book mattered mostly by rallying people to science, including Newton. But we'll see later its influence.