Assayer, Galileo - GALILEO THE ASSAYER Translation George...

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GALILEO THE ASSAYER Translation © George MacDonald Ross, 1998–1999 The Assayer, in which are weighed with a fine and accurate balance the contents of the Astronomical and Philosophical Weighing Scales of Lothario Sarsi of Siguenza, written in the form of a letter to the Illustrious and Very Reverend Monsignor Don Virginio Cesarini, Lincean Academician, and Chamberlain to his Holiness, by Signor Galileo Galilei, Lincean Academician, Gentleman of Florence, and Chief Philosopher and Mathematician to the Most Serene Grand Duke of Tuscany (Rome, Giacomo Mascardi, 1623). This document is approximately 4 sides of A4. [The Language of Nature] . . . . [24] I seem to detect in Sarsi a firm belief that, in philosophising, it is necessary to depend on the opinions of some famous author, as if our minds should remain completely sterile and barren, when not wedded to the reasonings of someone else. [25] Perhaps he thinks that philosophy is a book of fiction written by some man, like the Iliad , or Orlando Furioso — books in which the least important thing is whether what is written there is true. Mr. Sarsi, this is not how the matter stands. Philosophy is written in this vast book, which continuously lies upon before our eyes (I mean the universe). But it cannot be understood unless you have first learned to understand the language and recognise the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and the characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures. Without such means, it is impossible for us humans to understand a word of it, and to be without them is to wander around in vain through a dark labyrinth. . . . . [Primary and Secondary Qualities] . . . . [196] It now remains for me to fulfil the promise I made Your Excellency above, and give you certain thoughts of mine about the proposition ‘Motion is the cause of heat,’ showing how it seems to me possible that it is true. But first I need to give some consideration to what it is that we call ‘heat’, since I strongly suspect that the concept which everyone has formed of it is very far from the true one. People have come to believe that it is a genuine accident, affection, or quality, which inheres as something real in the matter which we feel ourselves being warmed by. Nevertheless, I say that, as soon as I conceive of a piece of matter, or a corporeal substance, I feel myself necessarily compelled [197] to conceive along with it, that it is bounded, and has this or that shape; that in relation to some other body it is either small or large; that it is in this or that place, and in this or that time; that it is in motion or at rest; that it either touches or does not touch some other body; and that it is one, few, or many; nor can I separate it from these states by any act of the imagination. But I do not feel my mind forced to conceive it as necessarily accompanied by such states as being white or red, bitter or sweet, noisy or quiet, or having a nice or nasty smell. On the contrary, if
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This note was uploaded on 03/01/2008 for the course PHL 329L taught by Professor Hochberg during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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Assayer, Galileo - GALILEO THE ASSAYER Translation George...

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