[Marxism] Fwd: The beginning of modern physics - World Socialist W eb Site

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Fri Sep 12 09:05:01 MDT 2014

Feyerabend summarized his view of Bellarmine as follows:

"... theories as instruments of prediction and reject truth-talk as being metaphysical and speculative. Their reason is that the devices they use are so obviously designed for calculating purposes and that theoretical approaches so clearly depend on considerations of elegance and easy applicability that the generalization seems to make good sense. Besides, the formal properties of'approximations' often differ from those of the basic principles, many theories are first steps towards a new point of view which at some future time may yield them as approximations and a direct inference from theory to reality is therefore rather naive!8 All this was known to 16th- and 17th­century scientists. Only a few astronomers thought of deferents and epicycles as real roads in the sky; most regarded them as roads on paper which might aid calculation but which had no counterpart in reality. The Copernican point of view was widely interpreted in the same way - as an interesting, novel and rather efficient model. The Church requested, both for scientific and for ethical reasons, that Galileo accept this interpretation. Considering the difficulties the model faced when regarded as a description of reality, we must admit that '[l]ogic was on the side of . . .  Bellarmine and not on the side of Galileo,' as the historian of science and physical chemist Pierre Duhem wrote in an interesting essay. 19 To sum up: the judgement of the Church experts was scientifically correct and had the right social intention, viz. to protect people from the machinations of specialists. It wanted to protect people from being corrupted by a narrow ideology that might work in restricted domains but was incapable of sustaining a harmonious life. A revision of the judgement might win the Church some friends among scientists but would severely impair its function as a preserver of 
important human and superhuman values. 20 "

Jim Farmelant
Learn or Review Basic Math

---------- Original Message ----------
From: Les Schaffer via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Fwd: The beginning of modern physics - World	Socialist W eb Site
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2014 09:24:43 -0400

On 09/12/2014 09:17 AM, Jim Farmelant via Marxism wrote:
> I think the author understates the force of Bellarmine's criticisms of Galileo. There were a number of holes in Galileo's arguments which Bellarmine ably exposed. 

can you give an example or two, Jim?   the bit about the pattern of
sunlight reflection off Venus atmosphere sounds intriguing, hadn�t heard
that one before.


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