Galileo: Intellectual Revolution in the Renaissance

Topics: Science, Nicolaus Copernicus, Isaac Newton Pages: 3 (1145 words) Published: April 26, 2007
Galileo: Intellectual Revolution in the Renaissance
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) has forever played a key role in the history of science. He is a key figure in the scientific revolution of the 17th century. His work in physics or natural philosophy, astronomy, and the methodology of science still stir up a discussion after over 300 years. His responsibility in promoting the Copernican theory and his trials with the Roman Church are stories that are retold even today. This essay is an attempt to provide an overview of the multi-faceted aspects of Galileo's life and work as an explanation of why he is a key figure in achieving in the intellectual revolution of the Renaissance. For many people, Galileo is the ‘champion' of modern science. Galileo's monumental discoveries were many. He was the first to observe the moons of Jupiter with his telescope. He calculated the law of free fall based on experimentation. He is known for defending and making popular the Copernican system, using the telescope to study outer space, and inventing the microscope. Galileo was the first ‘real' experimental scientist, promoting the relativity of motion, and creating a mathematical physics. Taking into consideration all Galileo's accomplishments, his major claim to fame, however, is probably his trial by the Catholic Inquisition. Philosophically, Galileo has been used to epitomize many different themes. Whatever is good about science in general, Galileo started it. More philosophically, many would ask, how his mathematics relates to his natural philosophy. How did he and his telescopic observations provide evidence in favor of Copernicanism? "In each of these cases there was some attempt to place Galileo in an intellectual context that brought out the background to his achievements. "# The philosophical idea that persisted through Galileo's intellectual life was a powerful and mounting aspiration to find a new theory of what comprises natural philosophy and how natural philosophy ought...

Cited: Drake, Stillman, 1957, Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
Lindberg, David C. and Robert S. Westman, 1990, Editors, Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge University Press.
Machamer, Peter, 1976, "Fictionalism and Realism in 16th Century Astronomy" in R.S. Westman, ed., The Copernican Achievement. University of California Press, 346–353
Palmieri, Paolo, 1998, "Re-examining Galileo 's Theory of Tides," Archive for History of Exact Sciences 53, 223–375.
Shea, William & Marinao Artigas, 2003, Galileo in Rome: The Rise and fall of a Troublesome Genius. Oxford University Press.
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