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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He even wrote that the moon viewed assajer the telescope is much enlarged, and the comet was but little. You will see a bright reflection of the sun on the surface of the sea near the line passing vertically through the solar disk. Tarde had visited Galileo in and had discussed sunspots with him personally, yet in his book he completely gzlileo Galileo’s conclusions and appropriated propriated the earlier mistaken ideas of Scheiner.

We meant to steer clear of those who ostentatiously engage in noisy contests merely to be popularly judged victors over others and pompously praised. The invention is, of course, contested in favor of several other men about this time.

But reasoning is like gali,eo, and not like hauling, assayet a single Arabian steed can outrun a hundred plowhorses. Retrieved from ” https: 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.

For my part I do not merely excuse him, I praise him; for to me it appears he has accomplished the impossible. And as these four senses are related to the four elements, so I believe that vision, the sense eminent above all others in the proportion of the finite to the infinite, the temporal to the instantaneous, the quantitative to the indivisible, the illuminated to the obscure–that vision, I say, is related to light itself. It is as if the premises had been prepared not by the bounty of nature but by the precision gaileo the subtlest art.

Galileo, Il Saggiatore (The Assayer)

The material contained therein ought to have opened to the minds eye much room galieo admirable speculation; instead it met with scorn and derision. For my own part, never having read the pedigrees and patents of nobility of shapes, I do not know which of them are more and which are less noble, nor do I know their rank in perfection.

From such waves, as from many mirrors extending over a wide area, would result a much brighter reflection of the sunlight than would occur if the sea were calm. And even without waiting for a comet we might find an opportune time when in midsummer the air flashes with heat lightning, as you assign all these “burnings” to a single cause. Possibly he thinks that philosophy is a book of fiction by some writer, like the Iliad or Orlando Furioso, productions in which the least important thing is whether what is written there is true.


Inasmuch as I was in no condition to write, I regarded this courtesy as my good fortune, and I not only accepted but I thanked him and acknowledged my debt. My reasoning was this. Let me ask Sarsi whether he thinks any difference of weight could be detected in a silver button before and after it is gilded. Galileo mistakenly believed that comets are an optical illusion. The same instrument is said [p. In a word, a comet is more like a toy planet than the real thing.

Perhaps the origin of two other senses lies in the fact [p.

The Assayer

Why has he considered me the author of this Discourse without showing any respect for that fine man who was? If he has, then how can he prefer to believe things related by other men as having happened two thousand years ago in Babylon rather than present events which he himself experiences? Witnesses are examined in doubtful matters which are past and transient, not in those which are actual and present.

Hence I was restricted to discovering what would be done by a combination of the convex and the [p. I myself believe that the light of a comet may be so weak and its material so thin and rare that if anyone could get close enough to it he would completely lose it [p.

But nothing happened until his needle drove too deep, and transfixing the creature be took away its life with its voice, so that he was still unable to determine whether the song had originated in those ligaments.

In the early days of the telescope he had experimented with such an application of it, but it was only when writing The Assayer that he altered the lens system and produced a manageable compound microscope. Later it turned out that if the moon were magnified one thousand times, the fixed stars would be magnified nine hundred and ninety-nine, whereas to support your position they could not be allowed to be enlarged by even one-half.

Then he observed that wasps, mosquitoes, and flies do not form single notes by breathing, as did the birds, but produce their steady sounds by swift beating of their wings.

Upon hearing this news I returned to Padua, where I then resided, and set myself to thinking about the problem. With regard to the production of sound those instruments are different which are of different sizes, not those which are of different materials. Now if by melting down one pipe and remolding the same lead we make a new tube that is longer, and therefore of lower pitch, will Sarsi refuse to grant that this is a different pipe from the first?

Lines are called regular when, having a fixed and definite description, they are susceptible of definition and of having their properties demonstrated. To excite in us tastes, odors, and sounds I believe that nothing is required in external bodies except shapes, numbers, and slow or rapid movements.


We merely do not believe that a cold arrow shot from a bow can take fire in the air; rather, we think that ff an arrow were shot when afire, it would cool down more quickly than it would if it were held still.

Well, gslileo part in the discovery of this instrument and whether I may reasonably claim to be its parent was long ago set forth in my Starry Messenger. Stultorum infinitus est numerus “the number of fools is infinite”[8] what would you do? Next, you see, Sarsi represents me as being finally convinced by the force of his logic and snatching at some very slender straw by saying that if it is true the fixed stars fail to receive enlargement as do nearby objects, then at any rate this is because the same instrument is not used, as the telescope must be a longer one for very close objects.

But first I must consider what it is that we call heat, as I suspect that people in general have a concept of this which is very remote from the truth. But it is you, Sig. Is it not astonishing that so many things have been reported to him which I never said, nor even thought, while not a single syllable reached him of other things that I have said over and over again? If its nature is different, experiments made with our flames are not conclusive.

I reply that if those poets could be present at our experiments they would change their views, and without disgrace they could say they had been writing hyperbolically-or even admit they had been wrong.

The location of the galilep is most fittingly accommodated to all positions in space. In galilso way you will be able to find out just how much force human authority has upon the facts of Nature, which remains deaf and inexorable to our wishes.

The Assayer | work by Galileo |

We did say they are false, but so far as authority is concerned yours alone is as effective as an army’s in rendering the events true or false. He clarifies that people believe heat to be a genuine or primary quality, but it is not. If I accept Sarsi’s charge of negligence because various motions that might have been attributed to the comet did not occur to me, I fail to see how he can free his teacher from the same criticism for not considering the possibility of motion in a straight line.