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The Essential Galileo Paperback – 30 Sep 2008
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Edited and translated by Maurice A. Finocchiaro, an international authority on Galileo, this collection makes available to scholars and students an excellent and extensive selection of Galileo's key works from his early career to the end of his life--some in toto and some represented by key selections. It presents not only Galileo's most famous works but also a range of less-known texts as well as an excellent selection of the documents from the trial of 1633 and from the 1616 condemnation of Copernicus. In addition to the breadth and quality of the selections, this volume is particularly attractive to students and instructors thanks to Finocchiaro's expert and up-to-date introductions, biographical sketch, chronology, annotated bibliography, and glossary. This is a must for anyone teaching or studying Galileo, the scientific revolution, and the relationship between science and religion. --Mario Biagioli, Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University
This skillful selection from Galileo's writings has something of the adventure story about it, as Galileo explores the skies in a way no one had done before and propounds a radical reorganization of the cosmos in consequence, defends himself from the accusation by the Church that his view contravenes Scripture but is condemned and forced to abjure, and returns finally in old age to publish a work that will not only set mechanics on a new path but will transform the very way in which the deeper knowledge of nature is to be found. Strongly recommended. --Ernan McMullin, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
"This book works very well for an undergraduate audience. I also appreciated the fact that Finocchiaro kept his comments on Galileo's texts to a minimum to allow students to interact with the primary documents on their own terms. The introduction to the text also worked well; providing important information without being overbearing for the students. I will definitely continue to use this work in the future." --Nahyan Fancy, Depauw University
About the Author
Maurice A. Finocchiaro is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In some of the more abstruse sections, where his reasoning became for me quite hard to follow, one is still impressed with the enthusiasm and rigor of his mind. Even in places where his analysis later proved to be incorrect--such as his thoughts on the nature of comets and on the causes of ocean tides--one can't help but acknowledge the sophistication of his arguments. I, for one, would have been entirely unable to refute them!
Some sections will appeal to you more than others, I'm sure, but if you love the history of science and its greatest practitioners, then i would highly recommend this book. And if Galileo wasn't a hero of yours before reading it, he'll probably be one afterwards.
Reading this book (and other original historical books) is invaluable for anyone wanting to enjoy how our understanding of the universe has evolved over the centuries. It is fascinating to read the same words Galileo wrote (an English translation though!) now that more than 400 years have passed from those nights that he made his observations. We learn so much in hindsight. As the introduction says, Galileo was also an exceptional Italian writer, if only I knew Italian to enjoy the actual words he used and benefit as he would have wanted me (a reader) to benefit from it.
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