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The Cambridge companion to Galileo. (English) Zbl 0932.01024

Cambridge Companions to Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. xii, 462 p. (1998).

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The twelve articles of this volume are preceded by an introduction by the volume’s editor dealing with the background to Galileo and his fame and with a brief biographical chronology. W. A. Wallace discusses Galileo’s Pisan studies in science and philosophy. P. Machamer’s article on ‘Galileo’s machines, his mathematics, and his experiments’ and R. Feldhay’s article on ‘The use and abuse of mathematical entities: Galileo and the Jesuits revisited’ are the two contributions of the volume which are mainly or completely dedicated to Galileo’s mathematics.
Machamer rightly explains (p. 66) that Galileo considered ratios and proportionality as the true method. Astonishingly E. Guisti’s painstaking monograph “Euclides reformatus” is not cited, neither here nor in the selected bibliography at the end of the volume. Machamer’s thesis is that the balance was the model by which Galileo actually did his science. Feldhay calls her essay a preliminary attempt to provide a framework of some less discussed aspects of Galileo’s politics of knowledge. It should be mentioned that Galileo did not speak of “infinitesimals” or “sum” (p. 113f.) when he deduced the law of falling bodies, but of non-quanta and aggregation.
The following articles concern inertial problems in Galileo’s preinertial framework (W. Hooper), the relationships between Galileo’s physics and theology (P. Redondi), Galileo’s Copernicanism (W. Shea), Galileo’s discoveries with the telescope (N.M. Swerdlow), Galileo’s conflict with the Catholic Church (E. McMullen), the question whether there could be another Galileo case (R. Blackwell), an apology of Bellarmine (M. Pera), the never-ending Galileo story (M. Segre), the sepulchers of Galileo (P. Galluzzi).

MSC:

01A45 History of mathematics in the 17th century
01-06 Proceedings, conferences, collections, etc. pertaining to history and biography
00A35 Methodology of mathematics
00B10 Collections of articles of general interest

Biographic References:

Galilei, Galileo
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