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Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican Paperback – October 2, 2001
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Original Language: Italian
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The work has 3 characters: Salviati who is a Copernican, Simplicio who is an Aristotelian and follower of the Ptolemaic system, and Sagredo, a non-affiliated but intelligent person. They meet and debate over 4 days. The first deals with the question of whether the substance of the heavens is fundamentally different to the earth as well as some other fundamental assertions of Aristotelianism. The second deals with the earth's daily rotation. The third is about the alleged yearly orbit of the earth around the sun. The fourth (considered by Galileo to be the crown of his argument - which is all the more endearing as it is wrong) is about the cause of the tides.
Reading this is especially interesting because [almost!] all of us believe that the earth goes around the sun, so it's easy to just approach this simplistically.Read more ›
And the good thing is this is a suitable book for everyone from the layman to the PHD, easy to read, requires nothing more than basic mathematical concepts and imagination.
The price, already low, is nothing compared to the pleasure of reading such piece of art.
He wrote in his introduction "To the Discerning Reader," that "Three principal headings are treated. First, I shall try to show that all experiments practicable upon the earth are insufficient measures for proving its mobility... Secondly, the celestial phenomena will be examined, strengthening the Copernican hypothesis until it might seem that this must triumph absolutely... In the third place, I shall propose an ingenious speculation. It happens that long ago I said that the unsolved problem of the ocean tides might receive some light from assuming the motion of the earth…” (Pg. 6)
Salvitri says, “The moon certainly agrees with the earth in its shape, which is indubitably spherical. This follows necessarily from its disc being seen perfectly circular, and from the manner of its receiving light from the sun.Read more ›
In the book, three persons discuss about the world systems during four days. The persons are: Salviati who is very much like Galileo itself, Sagredo, an open-minded supporter of Copernican system, and Simplicio, a fairly stupid supporter of Aristotelian and Ptolemaic philosophy.
Galileo’s treatment is exhaustive. Even though I am a fan of Galileo, I must admit that at several times I had to struggle against skipping few pages. Earlier, I had had similar moments when reading another classic, Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”. Fortunately, the dry sections are not too long, and the book contains many highlights some of which will be listed below.
First day (p. 9-121)
Salviati attacks against the old Aristotelian philosophy. One of his key verses is (p. 10): “I much wish that Aristotle had proved to me by rigorous deductions … ”. I especially liked the section where Salviati uses a mirror to demonstrate that the surface of the moon is not smooth (s. 82-92). At the end of the day Sagredo praises the achievements of human intelligence: sculpture, painting, music, poetry, invention of writing etc.. He states his motto (p. 120): “… when shall I be able to cease my amazement?”
Second day (p. 123-319)
The diurnal rotation of the earth is discussed, especially the aspect why the effects of this rotation cannot be directly observed, e.g.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To understand the mental revolution at Renaissance ... with Albert Einstein's help.Published 16 months ago by Bruno Autin
This substantial 1632 work by Galileo was about much more than just the "two motions" of the Earth, namely the rotation on its axis and its orbit around the Sun. Read morePublished on September 13, 2013 by Alan U. Kennington
This guy invented Science. He had the brain to understand the world and he had the guts to confront Church when nobody else had. Read morePublished on November 13, 2011 by James T. Kirk
It's not the most alluring of titles, I admit, and even though most people have heard of Galileo and many know enough of his achievements to admire him, I suspect few people would... Read morePublished on January 9, 2010 by Sid Nuncius
This is the famous book that got Galileo in trouble with the Inquisition. Galileo Galilei was one of the greatest scientists of all time. Read morePublished on November 3, 2006 by Istvan Simon