The publication in 1632 of Galileo's Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems, Ptolemaic and Copernican marked a crucial moment in the 'scientific revolution' and helped Galileo become the 'father of modern science'. The Dialogue contains Galileo's mature synthesis of astronomy, physics, and methodology, and a critical confirmation of Copernicus's hypothesis of the earth's motion. However, the book also led Galileo to stand trial with the Inquisition, in what became known as 'the greatest scandal in Christendom'.
In The Routledge Guidebook to Galileo's Dialogue, Maurice A. Finocchiaro introduces and analyzes:
- the intellectual background and historical context of the Copernican controversy and Inquisition trial;
- the key arguments and critiques that Galileo presents on both sides of the ‘dialogue’;
- the Dialogue’s content and significance from three special points of view: science, methodology, and rhetoric;
- the enduring legacy of the Dialogue and the ongoing application of its approach to other areas.
This is an essential introduction for all students of science, philosophy, history, and religion wanting a useful guide to Galileo's great classic.
"Well-known Galileo expert Finocchiaro provides the necessary guidance to understand the historical context, the intellectual background, and the key arguments that Galileo presented [...] Part of The Routledge Guides to the Great Books series, it will be a good resource for faculty using a great books curriculum. Summing Up: Recommended."
- M -K Hemenway, University of Texas at Austin, USA in Choice
PART I: PRELIMINARIES TO READING THE DIALOGUE
1. General Relevance
2. Intellectual Background
3. Historical Context
PART II: MAIN ARGUMENT IN THE DIALOGUE
4. Day I Similarity of Earth and Heaven
5. Day II Earth's Daily Axial Rotation
6. Day III Earth's Annual Heliocentric Revolution
7. Day IV Geokinetic Explanation of Tides
PART III: SPECIAL ASPECTS OF THE DIALOGUE
8. Science: Robust Confirmation of Earth's Motion
9. Methodology: Critical Reasoning and Balanced Judgment
10. Rhetoric: Persuasion and Eloquence
11. Historical Aftermath and Enduring Legacy
Appendix: Table of Cross-References among Editions
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Maurice A Finocchiaro is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus; University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has written and translated numerous works on Galileo and the history of science including Galileo on the World Systems: A New Abridged Translation and Guide (1997) and The Essential Galileo (2008).