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Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican

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4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  689 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
This 1967 edition of the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is a revision of a 1953 edition. It includes a foreword by Albert Einstein, which is presented in en face German and English versions.

The translation itself is based on the definitive National Edition prepared under the direction of Antonio Favaro and published at Florence in 1897. The material specif
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Paperback, Second Edition, 532 pages
Published August 1st 1962 by University of California Press (first published 1632)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lotz
I should think that anyone who considered it more reasonable for the whole universe to move in order to let the earth remain fixed would be more irrational than one who should climb to the top of your cupola just to get a view of the city and its environs, and then demand that the whole countryside should revolve around him so that he would not have to take the trouble to turn his head.

It often seems hard to justify reading old works of science. After all, science continually advances; pioneer
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Manny
Jul 28, 2013 Manny rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone seriously interested in the history of science
Recommended to Manny by: Bertrand Russell, A.D. White, David Wallace and others
[A pleasant Venetian villa; through the open window, we see tourists photographing each other with their iPads while gondolas traverse a canal in the background. SALVIATI effusively greets his guests, SAGREDO and SIMPLICIO]

SALVIATI: Welcome, dear friends, and many thanks for answering my urgent convocation! It is my earnest wish that we now devote some hours to mutual discussion, as we have so often done before, but this time on a different topic: to wit, that book written by Galileo in 1629, wh
...more
Pandiya
Aug 22, 2012 Pandiya marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I have read only first ten pages of the book.
Mark Woodland
Jul 28, 2011 Mark Woodland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is still a fascinating read over 400 years later. They don't write them like this anymore; the classic "dialogue" format that one finds in classic writings such as those by Plato was not in general use. However, given the clash between the two dominant models of the order of the universe at the time, it was a perfect choice, and well "argued" on each side. Of course, the Copernican system was proved out, but the process by which it was done is an excellent example of the use of logic, and t ...more
Sid Nuncius
Oct 24, 2015 Sid Nuncius rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not the most alluring of titles, I admit, and even though most people have heard of Galileo and many know enough of his achievements to admire him, I suspect few people would consider reading a book by him. However, I urge you very strongly to buy this book and at least give it a try. It's a wonderful work, full of fascinating and brilliant insights and Stillman Drake's superlative translation makes it extremely readable. It gives a fascinating insight into what Galileo *really* did to anno ...more
Khalil
Jul 15, 2013 Khalil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
According to Socrates Everybody can grasp philosophical truths if they just use their innate reason , and that is what Galileo " tried " to do with Simplicio , he ( Galileo ) worked exactly like Socrates ( and his mother before him ) as a midwife , and tried to give birth to Simplicio`s reason in time which scriptures was sacred and reason was forbidden .
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Autumn Meier
Apr 05, 2016 Autumn Meier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
These sort of books are a bit tricky for me. On one hand, I ask myself how the ancients--or even those in Galilei's time--could believe that the earth was the center of the universe. But that wondering quickly ceases when I realize how little I understand. I mean, when I read Galilei, or Turing, or Einstein, I wonder how on earth I'll contribute anything to the human race when I've spent my life thus far just trying to wrap my head around what we've already learned. And anyways, I'm sure people ...more
Jonathan
Mar 18, 2011 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why hadn't I read this book before? Not just one of the greatest texts in the history of science but fabulously written and entertaining as a dialogue. We hear about Galileo in high school, but that isn't like getting it right from the source.
Matt
Sep 03, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Salviati, Sagredo and Simplicio serve as Galileo’s vehicles to discuss the conflict between the Ptolemic/ Aristotelian universe and the Copernican. Separated into discussions over four days, Salviati is Galileo’s proxy as he disassembles Simplicio’s geocentrism to win over the undecided Sagredo.

The first day is a lively debate which sets the stage for the intellectual battle between established “scientific” belief and the persuasiveness of observable and geometric facts. With only polite restra
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Sean
Feb 27, 2013 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For genius level of thought and scientific practice, this is obviously five stars. I give it four only because for a modern reader, it does go on a bit. Despite that, it's very readable for a 400 year old book. And the length is interesting because it's caused by the extensive nature of the arguments Galileo had to make to convince people of this crazy proposition that the Earth moves. Though not an idea original to Galileo, even in his time it was not something people believed. Galileo used act ...more
Zach
Jan 04, 2014 Zach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, science
Galileo is brilliant and surprisingly clear in his exposition of the Copernican system against the Aristotelian/Ptolemaic. The dialogue form suits the discussion well - Salviati makes some impressive deduction, Sagredo exclaims how impressive it is and adds his own thoughts, and Simplicio quotes Aristotle. That's a bit harsh to Simplicio - Galileo goes out of his way to introduce a ton of objections to his/Salviati's theories, which are duly refuted by Salviati. Sagredo also brings a nice practi ...more
S
Mar 08, 2009 S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pisa 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642 Florence (Arcetri)
1632

Stillman Drake, trans.
Albert Einstein, introduction
Stephen Jay Gould, series ed.

Those that deny the motion of the earth would point out that birds could not keep up with 24 hours of flying so fast, and would look as if they were rapidly being carried westward.
To reiterate, when we travel on horseback, we feel a wind against our face: what a wind we would feel if we were being borne in such rapid course (earth must complete revolution i
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Toni Trees
Nov 29, 2015 Toni Trees rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with curiousity and general science background
An amazingly interesting book. That it kept me rapt was a big surprise, since it's not the sort of book I usually read. (In fact, I can't remember why I did read it; I think I just stumbled on it somehow, began reading, and actually enjoyed it.) The writing is clear and the logic easy to follow.
Jeremy
Jul 19, 2014 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-writing
Galileo is a seriously good writer, he's got a great sense of rhythm and the imagery he employs to get his points across about everything from how logic works, to what happens when a canon is fired, are brilliant. The dialogue format also works really well here, its actually really refreshing to see several different voices working through a series of problems instead of just reading one long, bloated tract. Best of all, he attacks intellectual dogmatism head on, and makes the case that when a s ...more
Han beng Koe
May 31, 2014 Han beng Koe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good book written by the "father of modern physics" which clearly shows how brilliant Galileo not only in his knowledge and importantly how he conveyed his idea to the reader, even Einstein wrote a foreword for this masterpiece by Galileo!

It is not a very heavy material although some thinking is still needed, but all the argument is written beautifully and easy to understand.

I recommend this book to everyone (in fact to every scientist!) who is interested how does the modern science kind
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David
Aug 20, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fairly slow going, but it's fascinating to watch an early 17th-century natural philosopher work through an explanation of (what we would now call) gravitation without recourse to calculus or decimal fractions, with no finer measurement of time than the human heartbeat. Galileo's thought experiments work equally well as powerful mental images; his best is the traveler on a boat belowdecks.

In this edition, the note to p. 360 explains an ingenious thumb-operatoed water clock that he devised to meas
...more
Ann
Oct 19, 2015 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A bit difficult to read at first...once used to the style, very interesting!
Dayla
It took me forever...to finally sit down and read this book, but I was so happy once I understood the format and the topic of discussion. I learned so much, especially about movements of the sun verified by sun spots and completely different movements of the moon, whose front side is all those on earth can see.

Very interesting process of using a dialogue to voice the opinions of the skeptic as well.

Paolo
Dec 29, 2013 Paolo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to understand the beginning of the modern science, you have to read this dialogue. You should put yourself in Galileo's shoes, already sentenced by the Church and still be able to explain his ideas, using the form of dialogue to workaround the censorship of his time.
Zach
well, i've only read the first couple of days, and am uncertain as to when i'll finish it, but it is an incredible work. just to witness galileo demolish aristotle is such an amazing feat that makes this book a lesson in rhetoric. of course, having read the a' man's physics will help make this book more intelligible.
Leslee
Aug 11, 2008 Leslee rated it it was amazing
Not only does this work make clear Galileo's incredible mind for science and philosophy, but it's also a riot! Who knew that one of the fathers of modern scientific thought had such a hilarious wit! It's delightfully and clearly written, easy for a layperson to follow and certainly worth anyone's time.
Daniel Ramírez Martins
It's a very easy-to-read book with beautiful scientific explanations. It has a lot of political controversy, and it directly attacks the Catholic Church through the character of Simplicio. Otherwise the character of Salviati represents Galileo and his beliefs on defending the copernican system.
Kevin Orrman-Rossiter
Review on its way
Caleb
Nov 07, 2011 Caleb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You'll laugh out loud at Simplicio's obstinacy. If you think you've got it tough because your friends don't believe in evolution, check out how bad Galileo had it back when 'everyone knew' that the Earth didn't move.
Jordan Botta
Dec 14, 2009 Jordan Botta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book for those ignorant to the current galactic model. Somewhat dry, but very educational and influential. I highly recommend it for someone who would like to learn about the progression of universal theories.
Peter M.
May 30, 2010 Peter M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
This is the one that Galileo in trouble with the Pope...interesting read, difficult to follow at times. It's been such awhile since I've picked this up, I might have to start over!!
Elisabeth Sepulveda
Dec 17, 2013 Elisabeth Sepulveda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
The use of dialogue and characters to put different perspectives on science in conversation was pretty clever. Lots of geometric terms. Interesting if you're interested in epistemology.
James Violand
Jun 30, 2014 James Violand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone.
Shelves: own
Believe it or not, I found this to be one of the most interesting books I have ever read. Easily understood, it is a seminal work in the history of science. Excellent.
Jeniann
Nov 21, 2012 Jeniann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I tried to read this a while back, and it's interesting but most of it is pretty over my head. I didn't get to the end. I plan to come back to it again later.
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Galileo Galilei was a Tuscan (Italian) physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations, and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the "father of modern observational astronomy", the "father of modern physics", the "father of scienc ...more
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“After an injunction had been judicially intimated to me by this Holy Office, to the effect that I must altogether abandon the false opinion that the sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center of the world, and moves, and that I must not hold, defend, or teach in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing, the said false doctrine, and after it had been notified to me that the said doctrine was contrary to Holy Scripture — I wrote and printed a book in which I discuss this new doctrine already condemned, and adduce arguments of great cogency in its favor, without presenting any solution of these, and for this reason I have been pronounced by the Holy Office to be vehemently suspected of heresy, that is to say, of having held and believed that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center and moves:

Therefore, desiring to remove from the minds of your Eminences, and of all faithful Christians, this vehement suspicion, justly conceived against me, with sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse, and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies, and generally every other error, heresy, and sect whatsoever contrary to the said Holy Church, and I swear that in the future I will never again say or assert, verbally or in writing, anything that might furnish occasion for a similar suspicion regarding me; but that should I know any heretic, or person suspected of heresy, I will denounce him to this Holy Office, or to the Inquisitor or Ordinary of the place where I may be. Further, I swear and promise to fulfill and observe in their integrity all penances that have been, or that shall be, imposed upon me by this Holy Office. And, in the event of my contravening, any of these my promises and oaths, I submit myself to all the pains and penalties imposed and promulgated in the sacred canons and other constitutions, general and particular, against such delinquents.”
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“To our natural and human reason, I say that these terms ‘large,’ ‘small,’ ‘immense,’ ‘minute,’ etc. are not absolute but relative; the same thing in comparison with various others may be called at one time ‘immense’ and at another ‘imperceptible.” 9 likes
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