Galileo's Visions: Piercing the spheres of the heavens by eye and mind

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Galileo's Visions: Piercing the spheres of the heavens by eye and mind

Galileo's Visions: Piercing the spheres of the heavens by eye and mind by Marco Piccolino and Nicholas J. Wade
English | 2014 | ISBN: 0199554358 | 336 pages | PDF | 7,7 MB

Galileo is known as a pioneer of science - especially of mechanics and astronomy, but far less attention has been paid to his work on the senses, and on vision in particular. In this book, two experts on the history of science look at the novel ways in which Galileo looked at the heavens through his telescope, and, in the process, emphasised the importance of contrast phenomena and visual resolution within astronomical observations. He also described the senses and their perception in terms that found an echo in doctrines advanced by nineteenth century sensory physiologists.

In a fascinating and accessible style, Marco Piccolino and Nick Wade analyse the scientific and philosophical work of Galileo Galilei from the particular viewpoint of his approach to the senses (and especially vision) as a means of acquiring trustworthy knowledge about the constitution of the world. For Galileo the senses were potentially ambiguous, hence reliable information capable of penetrating the complexity of reality could only be obtained by interpreting the sensory data critically. The philosophical background of Galileo's attitude to the senses was his awareness that nature had not developed a specific language aimed at communicating with senses generally and human senses in particular. The culture of his age was based mainly on mechanistic approaches to the world. In this context, Galileo's analysis of the senses corresponded closely to a fundamental tenet of modern sensory physiology and psychophysics - the absence in the world of specific sensory signals like sounds, colours, tastes, and odours.

Fully illustrated throughout, this book is an important contribution to psychology and the vision sciences, but more broadly to our knowledge of a pioneering figure in the history of science

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