Galileo Galilei and the Doctores Parisienses

  • William A. Wallace
Part of the The University of Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science book series (WONS, volume 14)

Abstract

The title of this study translates that of a note published by Antonio Favaro in 1918 in the transactions of the Accademia dei Lincei, wherein he presented his considered opinion of the value of Pierre Duhem’s researches into the ‘Parisian precursors of Galileo.’1 Earlier, in 1916, only a few years after the appearance of Duhem’s three-volume Études sur Léonard de Vinci, Favaro had reviewed the work in Scientia and had expressed some reservations about the thesis there advanced, which advocated a strong bond of continuity between medieval and modern science.2 In the 1918 note he returned to this topic and developed a number of arguments against the continuity thesis, some of which are strikingly similar to those offered in present-day debates. Since Favaro, as the editor of the National Edition of Galileo’s works, had a superlative knowledge of Galileo’s manuscripts — one that remains unequalled in extent and in detail to the present day — it will be profitable to review his arguments and evaluate them in the light of recent researches into the manuscript sources of Galileo’s early notebooks. Such is the intent of this essay.

Keywords

Tate Egypt Paration Aqua Lost 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Galileo Galilei e i Doctores Parisienses’, Rendiconti della R. Accademia dei Lincei 27(1918), 3–14.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Léonard da Vinci a-t-il exercé une influence sur Galilée et son école?’ Scientia 20 (1916), 257–265.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The manuscript referred to here is contained in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Forence with the signature Manoscritti Galileiani 46 (= BNF/MS Gal 46). Its transcription is contained in Antonio Favaro (ed.), Le Opere di Galileo Galilei, 20 vols. in 21, G. Barbera Editore, Florence, 1890–1909, reprinted 1968, Vol. 1, pp. 15–177 (hereafter abbreviated as Opere 1:15–177). All manuscript material in this essay is reproduced with the kind permission of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence, Italy. This permission is here gratefully acknowledged.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Études sur Léonard de Vinci, 3 vols., A. Hermann & Fils, Paris, 1913, Vol. 3, p. 583.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    “...che lo sviluppo scientifico e soggetto alla legge di continuità; che le grandi scoperte sono quasi sempre il frutto d’una preparazione lenta e complicatà, proseguita attraverso i secoli; che in fine le dottrine, le quali i più insigni pensatori giunsero a professare, risultano da una moltitudine di sforzi accumulati da una folla di oscuri lavoratori.” — ‘Galileo Galilei e i Doctores Parisienses,’ p. 4 (translation here and hereafter by the writer).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    “Galileo Galilei e i Doctores Parisienses,’ pp. 8–10.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    “Senza dubbio alcuno, dunque, ciò scriveva Galileo durante Tanno 1584.” — Avvertimento, Opere 1:12.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    “Galileo Galilei e i Doctores Parisienses,’ p. 10; cf. Avvertimento, Opere 1:12. The reference is to Francesco Buonamici, De motu libri decern... Apud Bartholomaeum Sermatellium, Florentiae, 1591.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    ‘Galileo Galilei e i Doctores Parisienses,’ p. 11; see also Opere 1:12–13 and 9:275–282.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Favaro reports this inscription in his Avvertimento, Opere 1:9, as “L’esame dell’opera d’Aristotele ‘De Caelo’ fatto da Galileo circa l’anno 1590.”Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Thus, in Opere 1, at p. 122, line 10 (hereafter abbreviated as 122.10), Galileo makes the reference to “[ea] quae dicta sunt a nobis 6° Physicorum...,” an indication of a commentary on the eight books of the Physics, and at 137.14 he speaks of difficulties that will be solved “cum agam de elementis in particulari,” a common way of designating the subject matter of the Meteorology, of which he apparently planned to treat. There is also an implicit reference to notes on logic that probably preceded the notes on natural philosophy; this occurs at 18.17, where Galileo writes “... de singularibus non potest esse scientia, ut alibi ostendimus,” a possible indication of his having already explained this thesis from the Posterior Analytics. Other references to matter treated elsewhere occur at 77.18, 77.24, 113.13, 125.25–32, 127.30, 128.8, 129.24, 138.9, and 150.24–25.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    All of these references to Aquinas and the Thomists have been analyzed by the writer in W. A. Wallace, ‘Galileo and the Thomists’, St. Thomas Aquinas Commemorative Studies 1274–1974 (ed. by A. Maurer), Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, 1974, Vol. 2, pp. 293–330. At the time he wrote that article the writer accepted uncritically Favaro’s judgment that the notes contained in MS Gal 46 were Juvenilia; now, as will become clear in what follows, he seriously questions such a characterization of the notes.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    For an account of the discoveries of Crombie and Carugo, see A. C. Crombie, ‘Sources of Galileo’s Early Natural Philosophy’, in Reason, Experiment, and Mysticism in the Scientific Revolution (ed. by M. L. Righini Bonelli and W. R. Shea) Science History Publications, New York, 1975, pp. 157–175, 303–305. For the results of the author’s researches, apart from those reported in note 13 above, see W. A. Wallace, ‘Galileo and Reasoning Ex Suppositione: The Methodology of the Two New Sciences,’ in Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. XXXII (Proceedings of the 1974 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, 1974) (ed. by R. S. Cohen et al), Reidei, Dordrecht and Boston, 1976, pp. 79–104; note 3a of this paper, added in proof, clarifies matters relating to priorities of discovery.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    The Latin text, also given below, is in Opere 1:38.4–9.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    The relevant folios of MS Gal 46 are fol. 16v to fol. 26r, which duplicate matter found on pp. 42–46, 55–71, and 135–143 of the 1581 edition of Clavius’s Sphaera. Google Scholar
  16. 19.
    Galileo himself alludes to this fact in his third letter on sunspots to Mark Weiser, dated December 1, 1612; see Opere 5:190.2–7.Google Scholar
  17. 20.
    Galileo could have used the 1570 edition for portions of his work, but he incorporates material not found in that edition, and for this he must have used (directly or indirectly) either the 1581 or the 1585 edition, both of which were printed from the same type. For a complete listing of Clavius’s writings, see Carlos Sommervogel, S.J., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, Vol. II (Alphonse Picard, Paris, 1891) cols. 1212–1224; see also note 33 infra. Google Scholar
  18. 22.
    For the Latin text, see Opere 1:24.25–27. The reference to Pererius is apparently to his widely available De communibus omnium rerum naturalium principiis et affectionibus libri quindecim, printed at Rome in 1576 and often thereafter. It should be noted, however, that Sommervogel (Vol. VI, col. 499) lists an earlier work printed at Rome in 1562 with the title Physicorum, sive de principiis rerum naturalium libri XV; this is much rarer, and I have not yet been able to locate a copy. There are also manuscript versions of Pererius’s lectures on the Physics, as noted infra, p. 107.Google Scholar
  19. 23.
    Galileo’s reply is on fol. 14v; Pererius’s corresponding discussion is on p. 505 of the 1576 edition.Google Scholar
  20. 24.
    For details, see R. G. Villoslada, Storia del Collegio Romano dal suo inizio (1551) alla soppressione della Compagnia di Gesù (1773). Analecta Gregoriana Vol. LXVI, Gregorian University Press, Rome, 1954, especially pp. 89–91 and 329–335.Google Scholar
  21. 36.
    See Favaro’s Avvertimento in Opere 9:279–282.Google Scholar
  22. 37.
    See Favaro’s Avvertimento in Opere 9:275–276, together with his transcription of the text and an indication of the corrections, ibid., 9:283–284.Google Scholar
  23. 38.
    For the Latin text, see Opere 1:27.Google Scholar
  24. 39.
    See Favaro’s Avvertimento in Opere 1:9 and 1:11–12; also ‘Galileo Galilei e i Doctores Parisienses,’ p. 8.Google Scholar
  25. 41.
    Rev. William Hales, D.D., A New Analysis of Chronology and Geography, History and Prophecy..., 4 vols., London: C. J. G. & F. Rivington, 1830, Vol. 1, p. 214.Google Scholar
  26. 42.
    Ibid., pp. 211–214.Google Scholar
  27. 43.
    In his researches the writer has uncovered only one book that does give Galileo’s figure. This is Ignatius Hyacinthus Amat de Graveson, O.P., Tractatus de vita, mysteriis, et annis Jesu Christi..., Venetiis: Apud Joannem Baptistam Recurti, 1727, pp. 251–252: “Christus Dominus anno aerae vulgaris vigesimo sexto, imperii proconsularis Tiberii decimo sexto, anno urbis Romae conditae 779, anno a creatione mundi 4164...” The date of publication of this work obviously would rule it out as a source; but see note 50 infra. Google Scholar
  28. 44.
    For details concerning Pererius’s Averroism and internal controversies at the Collegio, see M. Scaduto, Storia della Compagnia di Gesù in Italia. L’Epoca di Giacomo Lainez, 2 vols., Gregorian University Press, Rome, 1964, Vol. 2, p. 284.Google Scholar
  29. 44a.
    Also R. G. Villoslada, Storia del Collegio Romano, pp. 52, 78ff, 329, and C. H. Lohr, ‘Jesuit Aristotelianism and Suarez’s Disputationes Metaphysicae,’ to appear in Paradosis: Studies in Memory of E. A. Quain (New York 1976).Google Scholar
  30. 45.
    Villoslada, Storia del Collegio Romano, p. 323.Google Scholar
  31. 46.
    Benedictus Pererius, Commentariorum in Danielem prophetam libri sexdecim... Romae: Apud Georgium Ferrarium, 1587Google Scholar
  32. 46a.
    Benedictus Pererius Prior tomus commentariorum et disputationum in Genesim... Romae: Apud Georgium Ferrarium, 1589.Google Scholar
  33. 49.
    See Hales, A New Analysis of Chronology, p. 217.Google Scholar
  34. 52.
    See Opere 10:22; also Villoslada, Storia del Collegio Romano, pp. 194–199.Google Scholar
  35. 53.
    For details, see Giuseppe Cosentino, ‘L’Insegnamento delle Matematiche nei Collegi Gesuitici nell’Italia settentrionale. Nota Introduttiva’, Physis 13 (1971), 205–217, and ‘Le mathematiche nella “Ratio Studiorum” della Compagnia di Gesù’, Miscellanea Storica Ligure (Istituto di Storia Moderna e Contemporanea, Università di Genova), II, 2(1970), 171–213.Google Scholar
  36. 54.
    See Charles B. Schmitt, ‘The Faculty of Arts at Pisa at the Time of Galileo’, Physis 14 (1972), 243–272, especially p. 260.Google Scholar
  37. 55.
    Schmitt, ‘The Faculty of Arts...,’ p. 256; also Ludovico Geymonat, Galileo Galilei (transl. by Stillman Drake), McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1965, pp. 10–11.Google Scholar
  38. 57.
    Opere 10:44–45. This letter and its contents are discussed by Crombie in his paper cited in note 14 supra, pp. 167–68.Google Scholar
  39. 59.
    Favaro speculates that Galileo might have had a hand in Guiducci’s Letter, cited in note 56 supra; see Opere 6:6. For other collaboration between Galileo and Guiducci, see William R. Shea, Galileo’s Intellectual Revolution. Middle Period, 1610–1632, Science History Publications, New York, 1972, pp. 75–76.Google Scholar
  40. 60.
    Opere 8:101.Google Scholar
  41. 61.
    See Schmitt, ‘The Faculty of Arts...,’ pp. 261–262.Google Scholar
  42. 62.
    Christophorus Clavius, Euclidis Elementorum Libri XV..., Romae: Apud Vincentium Accoltum, 1574; nunc iterum editi ac multarum rerum accessione locupletati, Romae: Apud Bartholomaeum Grassium, 1589. Galileo’s own interpretation of Euclid, however, would still derive from Tartaglia’s Italian translation, with which he was quite familiar, and which, as Stillman Drake has repeatedly argued, underlies his distinctive geometrical approach to the science of motion.Google Scholar
  43. 63.
    Schmitt, ‘The Faculty of Arts...,’ p. 262; also Opere 19:119–120; and Antonio Favaro, Galileo Galilei a Padova, Padua: Editrice Antenore, 1968, pp. 105–114, especially p. 108.Google Scholar
  44. 64.
    Four versions are listed by Favaro, Opere 2:206; Stillman Drake reports a fifth version, ‘An Unrecorded Manuscript Copy of Galileo’s Cosmography’, Physis 1 (1959), 294–306.Google Scholar
  45. 65.
    See Schmitt, ‘The Faculty of Arts...,’ p. 206.Google Scholar
  46. 66.
    The table is reproduced in Opere 2:244–245; compare this with the table on pp. 429–430 of the 1581 edition of Clavius’s Sphaera. Google Scholar
  47. 67.
    Opere 1:314.Google Scholar
  48. 68.
    Clavius, Sphaera (1581 edition), pp. 108–109.Google Scholar
  49. 70.
    For Duhem’s own views see his The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory (transl. by P. P. Wiener), The Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1954; for their historical justification, apart from Duhem’s monumental work on Le Système du Monde, see his To Save the Phenomena, ‘An Essay on the Idea of Physical Theory from Plato to Galileo’ (transl. by E. Doland and C. Maschler), University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1969.Google Scholar
  50. 71.
    There are other flaws in Duhem’s historical arguments, of course, and these have been well detailed by Annaliese Maier in her studies on the natural philosophy of the late scholastics. Other scholars have contributed substantial information, since Duhem’s time, that support various aspects of his continuity thesis; among these should be mentioned Ernest A. Moody and Marshall Clagett and their disciples. In what follows, to the researches of these authors will be added a brief survey of sixteenth-century work that complements their findings but leads to slightly different philosophical conclusions than have heretofore been argued.Google Scholar
  51. 72.
    The last half of Duhem’s third volume on Leonardo da Vinci is in fact entitled ‘Dominique Soto et la Scolastique Parisienne,’ pp. 263–581, of which pp. 555–562 are devoted to Soto’s teachings. For a summary of Soto’s life and works, with bibliography, see the article on him by the writer in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 12, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1975, pp. 547–548.Google Scholar
  52. 73.
    Storia del Collegio Romano, pp. 60–61. Villoslada also calls attention to the professed Thomism of the theology faculty there, and to the tendency otherwise to imitate the academic styles then current at the Universities of Paris and Salamanca (p. 113).Google Scholar
  53. 74.
    Cited by Herman Shapiro, Motion, Time and Place According to William Ockham, Franciscan Institute Publications, St. Bonaventure, N.Y., 1957, p. 40.Google Scholar
  54. 75.
    Ibid., p. 53; see also William Ockham, Philosophical Writings: A selection (ed. by Philotheus Boehner), Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd., Edinburgh, 1957, p. 156.Google Scholar
  55. 76.
    Subtilissime questiones super octo phisicorum libros Aristotelis, Lib. 3, q. 7, Parisiis: In edibus Dionisii Roce, 1509, fols. 50r–51r.Google Scholar
  56. 77.
    W. A. Wallace, ‘The Concept of Motion in the Sixteenth Century’, Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 41 (1967), 184–195; and ‘The “Calculatores” in Early Sixteenth-Century Physics’, cited supra in note 14.Google Scholar
  57. 78.
    W. A. Wallace, ‘The Enigma of Domingo de Soto: Uniformi ter difformis and Falling Bodies in Late Medieval Physics’, Isis 59 (1968), 384–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 79.
    The text of that paper, written around 1586, is cited by Cosentino, ‘Le matematiche nella “Ratio Studiorum”...,’ p. 203, as follows: “Senza le matematichi ‘physicam... recte percipi non potest, praesertim quod ad illam partem attinet, ubi agitur de numero et motu orbium coelestium, de multitudine intelligentiarum, de effectibus astrorum, qui pendent ex varus coniunctionibus, oppositionibus et reliquis distantiis inter sese, de divisione quantitatis continuae in infinitum, de fluxu et refluxu maris, de ventis, de cometis, iride, halone et aliis rebus meteorologicis, de proportione motuum, qualitatum, actionum, passionum et reactionum, etc., de quibus multa scribunt Calculatores.’”Google Scholar
  59. 80.
    Latin text cited above, note 30.Google Scholar
  60. 81.
    In this letter, dated April 12, 1615, Bellarmine commended Foscarini and Galileo for being prudent in contenting themselves to speak hypothetically and not absolutely when presenting the Copernican system, thus considering it merely as a mathematical hypothesis (Opere 12:171–172). Galileo, of course, quickly disavowed that such was his intent (Opere 5:349–370, especially p. 360).Google Scholar
  61. 82.
    Latin text in Clavius, Sphaera, 1581 edition, p. 605. An English translation of this and surrounding passages is to be found in R. Harré, The Philosophies of Science: An Introductory Survey, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1972, pp. 84–86.Google Scholar
  62. 83.
    Crombie, ‘Sources...,’ and W. A. Wallace, ‘Galileo and Reasoning Ex Suppositions..,’ both cited in note 14 above.Google Scholar
  63. 84.
    L. M. De Rijk, ‘The Development of Suppositio naturalis in Medieval Logic’, Vivarium 11 (1973), 43–79, especially p. 54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 84a.
    Other expositions of Ockham’s theory of demonstration are E. A. Moody, The Logic of William of Ockham, Sheed and Ward, New York, 1935Google Scholar
  65. 84b.
    Damascene Webering, Theory of Demonstration According to William Ockham, Franciscan Institute Publications, St. Bonaventure, N.Y., 1953.Google Scholar
  66. 85.
    In metaphysicen Aristotelis quaestiones..., Lib. 2, q. 1, Parisiis: Venundantur Badio, 1518, fol. 9r; Quaestiones super decern libros ethicorum Aristotelis, Lib. 6, q. 6, Parisiis: Venundantur Ponceto le Preux, 1513, fols. 121v–123r. For a discussion of the first of these texts, and a critique of Ernest Moody’s reading of it, see W. A. Wallace, ‘Buridan, Ockham, Aquinas: Science in the Middle Ages,’ The Thomist 40 (1976), pp. 475–483.Google Scholar
  67. 86.
    For the precise texts see Opere 5:357.22, 7:462.18, 8:197.9, 8:273.30, 17:90.74, and 18:12.52. The first of these uses the Italian equivalent (supposizioni naturali) but the remainder employ the Latin ex suppositione even when the surrounding text is in Italian.Google Scholar
  68. 87.
    Respondeo: scientiam subalternatam tamquam imperfectam non habere perfectas demonstrationes, cum prima principia supponat in superiori probata, ideoque gignat scientiam ex suppositione et secundum quid... — MS Gal 27, fol. 20v. This reading is quoted from the transcription of this manuscript kindly made available to me by Adriano Carugo; for a brief preliminary analysis of the place of this work in Galileo’s thought, see Crombie, ‘Sources...,’ (note 14 above), pp. 171–174.Google Scholar
  69. 90.
    For a good account of the Aristotelian revival in the late sixteenth century, which locates the work of the Collegio Romano in the larger context of European universities generally, see Charles B. Schmitt, ‘Philosophy and Science in Sixteenth-Century Universities: Some Preliminary Comments’, in The Cultural Context of Medieval Learning (ed. by J. E. Murdoch and E. D. Sylla), Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. XXVI, Reidel, Dordrecht and Boston, 1975, pp. 485–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 91.
    Thus some of the claims made by Heiko A. Oberman, ‘Reformation and Revolution: Copernicus’s Discovery in an Era of Change’, in The Cultural Context... (note 90), pp. 397–435Google Scholar
  71. 91a.
    E. A. Moody in his Studies in Medieval Philosophy, Science and Logic, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1975, pp. 287–304 and passim, with regard to the role of nominalism in the Scientific Revolution, would seem to require revision in light of the findings reported in this paper.Google Scholar
  72. 92.
    See John E. Murdoch, ‘The Development of a Critical Temper: New Approaches and Modes of Analysis in Fourteenth-Century Philosophy, Science, and Theology,’ being readied for publication; also his ‘From Social into Intellectual Factors: An Aspect of the Unitary Character of Late Medieval Learning,’ in The Cultural Context... (note 90), pp. 271–384, and ‘Philosophy and the Enterprise of Science in the Later Middle Ages,’ in The Interaction Between Science and Philosophy (ed. by Y. Elkana), Humanities Press, Atlantic Highlands, N.J., 1974, pp. 51–74.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • William A. Wallace
    • 1
  1. 1.The Catholic University of AmericaWashington, D. C.USA

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