This is Galileo’s argument from “The Assayer,” which I encountered in both my history survey of modern philosophy and in metaphysics. Galileo. Galileo Galilei; Il Saggiatore (The Assayer); Rome, This quietly polemical text puts the case for a pared-down scientific conception of matter and a. Il saggiatore (The assayer) by Galileo Galilei (–) is the final and most significant work in the polemic regarding the characteristics of.

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My reasoning was this. It is true that because eagles are rare birds they are little seen and less heard, while birds that fly like starlings fill the sky with shrieks and cries, and wherever they settle befoul the earth beneath them.

Assuming that what Sarsi sees in his mirror is not a true and real man at all, but just an image like those which the rest of us see there, I should like to know the visual differences galilwo which he so readily distinguishes the real from the spurious.

Galileo, Selections from The Assayer

At first he used his discovery in support of Copernicus. From these conditions I cannot separate such a substance by any stretch of my imagination. I confess that I do not possess such a perfect faculty of discrimination. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these, one wanders about in a dark labyrinth.

Hence they must have rough surfaces, for if they were smooth as mirrors no reflection would reach us from gallleo and they would be quite invisible to us.

There was no need for Sarsi to pass him off as a mere copyist. Gxlileo Assayer is a milestone in the history of science: Galileo proceeds by explaining the senses and their relation to elements. I cannot help being astonished that Sarsi and his teacher, thinking it to be true, should have regarded it less highly than their others-which, if I may say so, are not fit to hold a candle to this one.

Hence the cause, the material, the place, and the method all differ between the two, and no correspondence exists except in both authors’ use of the word “refraction. But from a greater distance you would not see that separation because of the narrow gaps between the pieces, or because the great brilliance of galilo shining parts would cause them to intermingle and behave as do several fires close together which from afar seem to be one.

The Assayer

Irregular lines are those which have no determinacy whatever, but are indefinite and casual and hence undefinable; no galilei of such lines can be demonstrated, and in a word nothing can be known about them.


By reasoning about these they may easily discover, to their great honor and profit, how to construct such things.

But Galileo had already spoken of Scheiner in his reference to “attacks under disguises. And why should Assayeer speak of the comet as shining like a planet?

This implies galjleo the fixed stars, ghe are remote objects, are less enlarged than things within a room or a courtyard, for it appears to me that Sarsi includes things which he calls “nearby” within those limits, he not having specifically removed this boundary to any greater distance.

This must have been the state of the air when the Babylonians were cooking their eggs. But Mayr’s effrontery in claiming priority is so palpable that one cannot help sympathizing entirely with Galileo in these plaintive opening paragraphs of The Assayer.

This theory of his, I think, is no more inherently true than the statements of these same philosophers when they attribute the rumbling of thunder to the tearing apart of clouds, or to their knocking together.

Of such usurpers I might gali,eo not a few. The primary qualities exist regardless of people, but the secondary qualities would disappear gailleo living creatures to experience them—secondary qualities exist only in the experiencing body. Therefore I shall desist until some more opportune occasion. Demonstrating in no small degree their approval of my ideas, these gentlemen have managed for a variety of reasons to draw me away from the resolution I had made.

And so much for his pretended priority of observation.

Perhaps Sarsi believes that all the host of good philosophers may be enclosed within four walls. Once more distorting things, Sarsi represents us as having definitely declared that the motion of a comet must necessarily be straight and perpendicular to the earth’s surface -a thing which was not said in that way at all, but was merely brought under consideration as explaining the observed changes in position of the comet more simply and in better agreement with the appearances.

The Assayer | work by Galileo |

assqyer Now Your Excellency may decide whether the brilliance of a comet belongs among things which dazzle the vision, or among those so feeble as not to offend the eyes; then you may judge whether a mirrorlike surface is required for its production or whether one much less smooth will suffice. From a very high mountain about sixty miles from the Bay of Leghorn, on a clear and windy day about an hour before sunset, I have seen a very bright strip spreading out on both sides of the sun and extending for tens or perhaps hundreds of miles, this being a reflection of sunlight identical with those just described.

When a man can say definitely what he means by using a simple and appropriate word, why employ an inappropriate one gxlileo requires qualification and ultimately becomes transformed into something quite different?

But since it seems to me that there is still some life left in Guiducci’s conjectures, I shall make a few remarks upon the strength teh Sarsi’s refutations. Now, since the comet was enlarged little more than Mercury and much less than the moon he says assaywr, it might be very reasonably concluded that it was not much farther from the sun than Mercury is, and very much closer to the sun than to the moon.


Works of Galileo Galilei, Part 3, Volume 15, Astronomy: The Assayer

But sometimes they are gentlemen who, thus unknown, forgo the respectful decorum attending their rank and assume as is the custom in many Italian cities the liberty of speaking freely about any subject with anyone, taking whatever pleasure there may be in this discourteous raillery and strife.

Hence they reasoned about it as about the other planets, to the effect that the closer Of these to the sun are the more irradiated and consequently are less enlarged when observed through the telescope. Kepler has always been known to me as a man no less frank and honest than intelligent and learned.

And truly that assayre what I hope will now take place. After the theory was banned he utilized it to smuggle in the truth by pretending as here that Copernicus had spoken falsely in attributing a nonexistent motion to the earth.

Now these and similar arguments, coming to me on the authority of those gentlemen, almost took away my resolve to write no more; yet my desire to live in tranquility prevailed. Thus Sarsi may see that insensible reductions of weight do occur from consumption over a period of months on end, let alone the few minutes he may have persisted in hammering away at his bit of copper.

Now turn the [p. You are commenting using your WordPress. Now let Sarsi imagine most of the sea on both sides to be removed, leaving only a breadth of two or three miles in the center, pointing toward the sun.

Why did you not say to us at the outset, -Interpose a flame between the eye and some star, and the star will be made neither more nor less visible”? We meant only to address those men, ancient or modem, who try in all their [p. For any body resting freely in a thin and fluid medium will, when transported along the circumference of a large circle, spontaneously acquire a rotation in a direction contrary to the larger movement.

The former may strike upon a certain part of our bodies that is much more sensitive than the skin, which does not feel the invasion of such falileo matter.