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The Essential Galileo (Hackett Classics) 1 Edition Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0872209374
ISBN-10: 0872209377
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Editorial Reviews


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.

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Product Details

  • Series: Hackett Classics
  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.; 1 Edition edition (September 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872209377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872209374
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Galileo Galilei had seriously considered the priesthood as a young man, at his father's urging he instead enrolled at the University of Pisa for a medical degree.[20] In 1581, when he was studying medicine, he noticed a swinging chandelier, which air currents shifted about to swing in larger and smaller arcs. It seemed, by comparison with his heartbeat, that the chandelier took the same amount of time to swing back and forth, no matter how far it was swinging. When he returned home, he set up two pendulums of equal length and swung one with a large sweep and the other with a small sweep and found that they kept time together. It was not until Christiaan Huygens almost one hundred years later, however, that the tautochrone nature of a swinging pendulum was used to create an accurate timepiece.[21] To this point, he had deliberately been kept away from mathematics (since a physician earned so much more than a mathematician), but upon accidentally attending a lecture on geometry, he talked his reluctant father into letting him study mathematics and natural philosophy instead.[21] He created a thermoscope (forerunner of the thermometer) and in 1586 published a small book on the design of a hydrostatic balance he had invented (which first brought him to the attention of the scholarly world). Galileo also studied disegno, a term encompassing fine art, and in 1588 attained an instructor position in the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence, teaching perspective and chiaroscuro. Being inspired by the artistic tradition of the city and the works of the Renaissance artists, Galileo acquired an aesthetic mentality. While a young teacher at the Accademia, he began a lifelong friendship with the Florentine painter Cigoli, who included Galileo's lunar observations in one of his paintings.[22][23]

In 1589, he was appointed to the chair of mathematics in Pisa. In 1591 his father died and he was entrusted with the care of his younger brother Michelagnolo. In 1592, he moved to the University of Padua, teaching geometry, mechanics, and astronomy until 1610.[24] During this period Galileo made significant discoveries in both pure fundamental science (for example, kinematics of motion and astronomy) as well as practical applied science (for example, strength of materials and improvement of the telescope). His multiple interests included the study of astrology, which at the time was a discipline tied to the studies of mathematics and astronomy.[25]

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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Will Jerom on November 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Essential Galileo takes the reader through some of Galileo's most important writings, as well as some of the critical documents pertaining to his trial. Readers will be gratified in coming to know some of the most influential writings that Galileo Galilei offered to the world. His achievements as a scientist, and his appreciation for how to read scripture must also be noted. Read this book, and a biography or book about Galileo's life and you should have a fairly firm grasp of Galileo. Certainly a book I recommend to those curious about the highlights of the famous Italian astronomers central accomplishments. (also I recommend "Galileo in Rome", but don't miss this book!)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joe Chevalier on July 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In reading this I was first amazed at what an excellent writer was Galileo. We all know of his scientific and mathematical genius, but he also had considerable literary flair--even when writing painstakingly about complex scientific questions. To read his thoughts on his then-recent astronomical discoveries--the moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, the roughness of the moon and so on--is an utter delight. It seems to place you right there in the room with him as he's discussing them.

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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mohammad Akhlaghi on December 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have not finished the book yet. But in general, I have not found any thing worth complaining about other than my own lack of time in completing it. The book also doesn't really need finishing in a linear manner! It is not one complete entity, it is a collection of the major parts of the separate books Galileo has written. They can be read independently.

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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tom Brooks on December 14, 2012
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i have been searching for the perfect book containing the works of galileo and now i found it. if you've always wanted to read galileos works this is the book for you.
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