Galileos Visions: Piercing the spheres of the heavens by eye and mind

Hardcover | January 5, 2014

byMarco Piccolino, Nicholas J. Wade

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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 heavensthrough 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 notdeveloped 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 sensoryphysiology 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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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 heavensthrough his telescope, and, in the process, empha...

Marco Piccolino has taught of General Physiology and Science History at the University of Ferrara, Italy, and he is now member of the Center of Neuroscience of the same University. He is a neurophysiologist who has carried out important research in the physiology of the retina by publishing his results on the main international journa...

other books by Marco Piccolino

Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.69 × 6.73 × 0.98 inPublished:January 5, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199554358

ISBN - 13:9780199554355

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Table of Contents

IntroductionBibliographic abbreviations1. Approaching Galileo's science through a fable2. Subtleties of vision and of the scientific revolution3. Casting light on Galileo's contrasts4. The Lunar candour and the Litheosphorus5. Sensory surprises6. Seeing mountains on the moon7. Visible and invisible luminous peaks of lunar mountains8. Visual limits and the visibility of infinitesimals9. Heavens sensed10. Galileo's sensory philosophy11. The problem of Galileo's predecessors12. A moon circle: celestial reflections and illusions with Sarpi, Galileo and Castelli13. Alternative visions14. Galileo's visions