Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  432 ratings  ·  25 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...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 532 pages
Published August 1st 1962 by University of California Press (first published 1632)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,914)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jul 28, 2013 Manny rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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 .
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.
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...more
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
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
Pisa 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642 Florence (Arcetri)

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...more
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
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...more
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
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.
Mar 09, 2008 Zach added it
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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.
G.R. Reader
Galileo gets some of the details wrong but, holy shit, does he ever understand the big picture. My kinda guy.
Vikas Lather
most explicit and heroic defense of liberty
Ivan marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2014
Anna marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2014
María marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2014
Danielle Driggs
Danielle Driggs marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2014
Leanna Kowallis
Leanna Kowallis marked it as to-read
Aug 17, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 63 64 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • On The Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres
  • The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
  • Ptolemy's Almagest
  • Euclid's Elements
  • The Works of Archimedes
  • Elements of Chemistry
  • The New Organon
  • Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science
  • The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought
  • Principles of Geology
  • Science and the Modern World
  • An Essay on the Principle of Population
  • The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins
  • 95 Theses
  • Physics
  • Thirty Years that Shook Physics: The Story of Quantum Theory
  • Selected Philosophical Writings
  • Wrinkles in Time
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
More about Galileo Galilei...
Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo Sidereus Nuncius, or The Sidereal Messenger Two New Sciences: Including Centers Of Gravity And Force Of Percussion Two New Sciences/A History of Free Fall The Essential Galileo

Share This Book

“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.”
“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.” 4 likes
More quotes…