Setting Aside All Authority: Giovanni Battista Riccioli And The Science Against Copernicus In The Age Of Galileo by Christopher M. Graney

Setting Aside All Authority: Giovanni Battista Riccioli And The Science Against Copernicus In The…

byChristopher M. Graney

Paperback | April 15, 2015

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Setting Aside All Authority is an important account and analysis of seventeenth-century scientific arguments against the Copernican system. Christopher M. Graney challenges the long-standing ideas that opponents of the heliocentric ideas of Copernicus and Galileo were primarily motivated by religion or devotion to an outdated intellectual tradition, and that they were in continual retreat in the face of telescopic discoveries.

Graney calls on newly translated works by anti-Copernican writers of the time to demonstrate that science, not religion, played an important, and arguably predominant, role in the opposition to the Copernican system. Anti-Copernicans, building on the work of the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, were in fact able to build an increasingly strong scientific case against the heliocentric system at least through the middle of the seventeenth century, several decades after the advent of the telescope. The scientific case reached its apogee, Graney argues, in the 1651 New Almagest of the Italian Jesuit astronomer Giovanni Battista Riccioli, who used detailed telescopic observations of stars to construct a powerful scientific argument against Copernicus.

Setting Aside All Authority includes the first English translation of Monsignor Francesco Ingoli’s essay to Galileo (disputing the Copernican system on the eve of the Inquisition’s condemnation of it in 1616) and excerpts from Riccioli's reports regarding his experiments with falling bodies.

“Christopher M. Graney’s Setting Aside All Authority makes a fine contribution to the history of science and especially the history of astronomy. The case Graney presents for the rationality of denying Copernicanism, as late as the mid-seventeenth century, is cogent, and he presents a good deal of novel historical material that urges a reevaluation of a major figure—Riccioli. The book will interest not only historians but also philosophers of science, and scientists in the relevant specialties (astronomy, physics) together with their students at both the undergraduate and graduate level.” —Peter Barker, University of Oklahoma

"The most exciting history of science book so far this century, Graney’s brilliant portrait of Riccioli and his science—amiable but punchy, rigorous but accessible—ought to stimulate a complete revision of what we thought we knew about the Copernican Revolution. Rarely have scientific analysis, historical scholarship, and writerly flair come together with such force." —Dennis Danielson, author of Paradise Lost and the Cosmological Revolution

"For students of the Copernican revolution, here is an unexpected contribution that will force the experts to revise their lecture notes. Christopher Graney (with translation assistance from Christina Graney) has almost single-handedly revised the traditional story about Jesuit Giambattista Riccioli’s list of pro and con arguments for the heliocentric cosmology. Big surprise: in 1651 the geocentric cosmology had science on its side." —Owen Gingerich, author of God's Planet

About The Author

Christopher M. Graney is professor of physics at Jefferson Community & Technical College.

Details & Specs

Title:Setting Aside All Authority: Giovanni Battista Riccioli And The Science Against Copernicus In The…Format:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:April 15, 2015Publisher:University of Notre Dame PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0268029881

ISBN - 13:9780268029883

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"Is there something to be gained by assessing the merits of the losing side of a long-settled scientific argument? Christopher Graney’s answer in Setting Aside All Authority is an unequivocal yes, and he takes one of the most celebrated cases of scientific advance—the victory of heliocentrism over geocentrism—to show us. The work contributes to an effort among historians of science to demonstrate how much more genuinely scientific the entire dispute was than is suggested in the conventional story of it as a titanic struggle between the scientifically rational and the religiously superstitious." —America “…the focus of the book is on the analysis of the 126 arguments for and against the Earth’s motions, and in particular of the two that Riccioli considered decisive evidence against heliocentrism.” —American Historical Review “Though Riccioli was one of the most important and widely-known astronomers in the Society of Jesus of the seventeenth century, he has received relatively little attention from historians of science. . . . Ultimately, he [Graney] has managed a rare feat: taking his own expertise and passion for physics and applying them to sources and contents rarely encountered in the college classroom.” —Journal of Jesuit Studies “No one can accuse Christopher Graney of lacking ambition. [Although he] is a professor of physics rather than a historian, in one way [he] is far different from the stereotypical scientist-historians of yore: [he is willing to] take the losing side seriously.” —Sixteenth Century Journal