Sunday, May 10, 2009

30 Galilei Galileo

I guess we all know about Galilei Galileo. The man who said, like Copernicus, that the earth rotated around its axis and as a planet around the sun. It is 1632 and Rome, the pope, wasnt pleased with his ideas.

The Dutchman Lippershey invented the telescope and Galilei improved the instrument and did remarkable discoveries in astronomy. Allthough Aristotle had said that the heavenly bodies were absolute spheres, Galileo discovered mountains and craters on the moon.

As with Bacon we encounter here one single man, that made an unerasable imprint on Western thinking. It is almost unbelievable, that just one intelligent mind can have such a far reaching impact. But it was a fact.

That the clerical establishement felt uneasy with Galilei wasnt just because of his way of explaining the universe.

The age in which Galileo was born was one in which the power of authority was uppermost in every sphere of activity - political, religious and philosophical. The authoroty of the Bible and their exegetes.

It was therefore virtually impossible to attack that power in one sphere without disturbing it in others.

For Galileo scientific research wasnt dictated by authority, but by observation, experiment and reason only. So no authority of the Bible. The Bible was a completely different language from the language of science, was Galileo's opinion.

Untill Galileo's time physical science (including theoretical astronomy) was regarded as a proper part of philosophy and was so taught at the universities. Aristotle's theories of nature were predominant.

Galileo attacked these theories and made physics an independent science. The systematic search for solutions to physical problems led to a body of dependable knowledge of the physical world that philosophers no longer could ignore in their speculations about underlying reality.

All was based now on sense data, reason and mathematical interpretation. Galileo said " the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics"

And that statement sounds like a thunder. Allthough there already was a long tradition of studying mathematics now the definite step was made to apply mathematics to the physical phenomena to explain and to gain knowledge.

While Bacon said, that we have to make progress in scientific research and knowledge, Galileo offered the right tools to do so.

Scientific knowledge was derived from sense date, experiment and reason and not deduced from what the Bible said. So it was not only Galileo's astronomical insights and observations that disturbed Rome. It was his whole scientific methotodology, that made them feel uneasy.

It was Galileo who set the final step to the mathematical interpretation of physics. Again an amazing moment in history...the very fact that just one mind, one human being wrote some books, that have shaped our world.

With Bacon and Galileo we have the two main ingredients of our present-day culture: the belief in progress and the belief in scientific research (based on mathematical calculations, statistics for instance).

Main Resources:
Philip Stokes, Philosophy: 100 essential thinkers
The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition

The Discussion

[13:22] Herman Bergson: So far on galileo..:-)
[13:23] Herman Bergson: An amazing mind and the one who paved the way for Newton
[13:23] Herman Bergson: if you have any question or remark..plz feel free..:-)
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: what do you mean by the final steps
[13:25] hope63 Shepherd: what was Galilei's social status. for whom did he work.. who paid him..
[13:25] Ze Novikov: did Galileo think of himself as a philosopher or a mathematican??
[13:25] Herman Bergson: ok three questions...
[13:25] Herman Bergson: The final step, Gemma...
[13:26] Herman Bergson: Bacon pleaded for progress...Galileo made the world mathematical
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: ok
[13:27] hope63 Shepherd: and that became the piont of no return for science..
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: a realistic approach
[13:27] Herman Bergson: all the ingredients we need...he made physics an independent science, no longer dictated by philosophical theories and speculations but by sense data, experiment and research
[13:28] Herman Bergson: you could say that at that moment the age of science began
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: physically analytical
[13:28] Herman Bergson: Galileo was in thee first place a professor of mathematics
[13:29] Ze Novikov: ok
[13:29] Herman Bergson: that is how he made his living...he lectured at the university of Padua for a lon gtime
[13:29] Rodney Handrick: I think mathematics is the "LAW"!
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: maybe the rule of law
[13:30] Herman Bergson: yet..his ideas on scientific methodology made him a phisosopher of science, tho not a title in those days..
[13:30] Ze Novikov: umm
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: sure
[13:30] Herman Bergson: what do you mean Rodney?
[13:31] Herman Bergson: At least Galileo wasnt a rich well to do noble or something like that
[13:32] Rodney Handrick: Well if you violate a math equation...there are consequences
[13:32] Rodney Handrick:
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: yes two objects can not occupy the same place at the same time
[13:33] Herman Bergson: yes..there are....and it brings me to one of the things I wonder about...this relation between mathematics and the physical world.
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: that comes up every few classes
[13:33] Herman Bergson: man knew about it for a long time already..Archimedes was alreay experimenting...
[13:33] Herman Bergson: yes Gemma...:-)
[13:34] hope63 Shepherd: math is the language we learned from the physical world.
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: sure it is
[13:34] Herman Bergson: No Hope..that is just an assumption..
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: the essence of the law
[13:34] Rodney Handrick: well...mathematics is definitely relevant in the 3 dimensional space we live in here
[13:34] Herman Bergson: we dont need the physical world to count to ten
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: what do you see when you count to ten?
[13:35] Herman Bergson: yes it is Rodney...
[13:35] hope63 Shepherd: what would you count if not something physically existent..
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: yes
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: well when children begin they must see the items 1-10
[13:35] Herman Bergson: mathematics is a 100% rational thing
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: to understand at all
[13:36] Herman Bergson: and that makes it so special
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: I think it still must relate to something physical
[13:36] hope63 Shepherd: language should be rational too..or at least could be..
[13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: after they get the concept then they do not really need to see
[13:36] Herman Bergson: yes it does Aristotle...we discovered that empirivally
[13:36] Rodney Handrick: I agree Hope
[13:36] Laila Schuman: i agree that it is rational but it is explained by experience.... think of teaching the blind.... how do you teach numbers....
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: feeling
[13:37] Qwark Allen: colours
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: the article
[13:37] Herman Bergson: sure there is a relation between sense data and the development of the concept of quantity..
[13:38] Herman Bergson: but here we touch a very special philosophical issue..
[13:38] Herman Bergson: it will come up time and again...
[13:38] Herman Bergson: do we develop the concept of quantity from sense data
[13:38] Rodney Handrick: What's that?
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: how else?
[13:39] Rodney Handrick: hmm...I see
[13:39] Herman Bergson: or do we need the concept of quantity to understand sense data
[13:39] Qwark Allen: we need some one to teach us that
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: where does that concept come from?
[13:39] Herman Bergson: here again we have the rationalist / empiricist controversy
[13:39] Nick Cassavetes: inetersting question indeed
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: the chicken or the egg
[13:40] Herman Bergson: Yes..Aristotle..where does the concept come from...
[13:40] Nick Cassavetes: empiricism versus rationalism
[13:40] Osrum Sands: surly sence data was first
[13:40] Herman Bergson: you cant say that Osrum..
[13:40] Osrum Sands: just did
[13:40] Nick Cassavetes: we're not tabula rasa
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:40] Herman Bergson: When we wil meet Kant you will understand..
[13:40] Nick Cassavetes: we have stuff in our minds to interpret with
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: but we are
[13:41] hope63 Shepherd: lol.. i think os is right.if you look at the history of humanity.
[13:41] Nick Cassavetes: indeed herman
[13:41] Herman Bergson: I dont think that it is that simple....
[13:41] Osrum Sands: even this class shows the development of thinking
[13:41] Herman Bergson: Just imagine....
[13:42] Herman Bergson: you are completely a new born baby....
[13:42] Herman Bergson: you open your eyes...lights comes in....different colors of lights.....
[13:42] Rodney Handrick: That's the point...I don't think a baby is completely blank
[13:43] Rodney Handrick: We forget to factor in the soul
[13:43] Herman Bergson: now tell can you shape this flood of light in such a way that you interpret all that light in terms of seeing objects?
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: huh?
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: what soul?
[13:44] Osrum Sands: focus ???
[13:44] Osrum Sands: trick q ?
[13:44] hope63 Shepherd: lol
[13:44] Laila Schuman: Herman that is related to ... when does learnng begin... in the womb or after birth
[13:45] Herman Bergson: do you get the point?..the eye only absorbs light....the mind interprets the input
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: Sight is still being devoped after birth
[13:45] Laila Schuman: and that answer bears upon what you are talking about...with the sensorary
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: It takes the light to finish the process
[13:46] hope63 Shepherd: right herman... and when we learned to differenciate we have learned another language,, if we see two corors we learned the number 2.. which we can use for other objects..
[13:46] Osrum Sands: as a baby Im not siting there thinking now that bit of light is 3 feet long 2 wide etc
[13:46] Osrum Sands: Im just taking in the light
[13:46] Osrum Sands: later coubnting comes
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: yes letting nature take its course
[13:46] Rodney Handrick: I think at an unconscious level we already know what light is...just not able to articulate the meaning in the 3-dimensional space
[13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: too mystic
[13:47] Osrum Sands: different issues Rod
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: well i am not even sure of that
[13:47] Herman Bergson: Yes Rodney..but where does the awarenes of 3 dimensionality come form?
[13:47] Osrum Sands: my point Proff is that I think it reasonable to believe that sence data cames before math
[13:48] hope63 Shepherd: 2 eyes?
[13:48] Qwark Allen: even math, is a trying to explain sense data
[13:48] Osrum Sands: It came from your q [13:39] herman Bergson: or do we need the concept of quantity to understand sensedata
[13:48] Herman Bergson: I wonder Qwark
[13:48] hope63 Shepherd: my words..
[13:48] Rodney Handrick: I think the awareness is embedded in the unconscious part of our brain
[13:49] AristotleVon Doobie: to see the answer one must do away with the Idols
[13:49] Herman Bergson: Ah...Rodney..there you go...Kant..:-)
[13:49] Qwark Allen: we can see this easly
[13:49] Qwark Allen: no absolute truths
[13:50] Qwark Allen: even math or physic of today, that we take for sure, will be the same truth tomorow
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: flux
[13:50] Qwark Allen: evolution
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: agree
[13:51] Herman Bergson: I believe so too Qwark...but read my words..I believe so...
[13:51] Qwark Allen: yes
[13:51] Qwark Allen: i know
[13:51] Qwark Allen: i`ve understood very well ur point
[13:52] Qwark Allen: and i`ve remembered that even the E=MC2, will be not so true in future
[13:52] Qwark Allen: cause the light speed changes
[13:52] Qwark Allen: :-)
[13:52] hope63 Shepherd: math doesn't have to be truth qwaek.. as i said.. its a language..
[13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: Einstein and Galileo, two gifted brains
[13:52] Herman Bergson: Well...I think a most interesting point to observe is
[13:53] Herman Bergson: that the deeper we dig nto the question after certainty of knowledge
[13:53] Osrum Sands: What I mean to be 1 today might be different from what you see 1 to be next week
[13:53] Herman Bergson: the more we see how we end up wiht believes only
[13:53] Osrum Sands: its all realitive
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: the equation will change with evolution
[13:53] Osrum Sands: to the convention which we accept as people
[13:53] Osrum Sands: as a society
[13:54] Qwark Allen: yes herman
[13:54] hope63 Shepherd: if there are still people around for the evolution ari
[13:54] Herman Bergson: there you hit a nerve again Osrum...that all is relative..
[13:54] Qwark Allen: and we must accept that truth
[13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: dangerous foreboding equations
[13:55] Herman Bergson: Bertrand Russell saw it as the task of philosophy to teach man to live with the certainty of uncertainty
[13:55] Qwark Allen: yes lol
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: I guess this is why philosophy continues to change and develop so much every century
[13:55] hope63 Shepherd: kafka
[13:55] Osrum Sands: works for me
[13:56] Osrum Sands: difficutl though it may be
[13:56] Rodney Handrick: me too...
[13:56] Herman Bergson: get back to 1630
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: I should have known
[13:56] Osrum Sands: your hero again Hope - Kafka
[13:56] Herman Bergson: What we now have wittnessed are two great minds, Bacon an Galileo, that shape dour world...
[13:56] Gemma Cleanslate: 1630 the beginning of so much exploration in evry sense of the word
[13:57] Herman Bergson: set it off in the direction we are folowinfg now
[13:57] Osrum Sands: Modernity rising
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: but he rule changed
[13:57] hope63 Shepherd: may be we should metion that while glileo was sitting in padua there was a religious war going on thart devastaded all of central europe?
[13:57] Qwark Allen: the certain of uncertain
[13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: makes it difficulet to speak out hope
[13:58] Herman Bergson: Well Hope...I think it is all part of the same process....
[13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: for Galileo
[13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: what knowledge could we have today without religion
[13:58] Herman Bergson: the authority of the Church of Rome was going down the drain
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: not too sure of that!!
[13:59] Osrum Sands: I guess that no matter how small and quiet a voice is on the current stage of history . It will be heard if it is the truth
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: swapped to luther and calvin and etc
[13:59] Osrum Sands: not just history of powerfull men
[13:59] Qwark Allen: i like to believe in that osrum
[13:59] Herman Bergson: or in more general had discovered that the world wasnt as closed and contained as he was made to believe for centuries
[13:59] Qwark Allen: :-)
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: the church did keep learning alive in all those centuries
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: Not if Bush can help it.
[14:00] AristotleVon Doobie: Os
[14:00] Osrum Sands: good point Gemma
[14:00] Gemma Cleanslate: at least in the western world
[14:00] AristotleVon Doobie: Those same powerful men taint the truth
[14:00] Osrum Sands: even though we might hit out at it
[14:00] Herman Bergson: Yes did...and by doing so it couldnt stop the creativity of the mind
[14:00] Osrum Sands: at least it was there
[14:00] Gemma Cleanslate: yes!!
[14:01] Gemma Cleanslate: always those who go outside the box
[14:01] Gemma Cleanslate: "-))
[14:01] Osrum Sands: do you really think it wanted to stop the creativity of the mind ?
[14:01] Gemma Cleanslate: which is good
[14:01] Herman Bergson: Welll...let me summarize....
[14:01] Herman Bergson: we see how the world becomes interpreted mathematically
[14:02] Herman Bergson: we also wonder about the origine of the concept of quantification.
[14:02] Herman Bergson: we run into the rationalist/empiricist controvery
[14:02] Herman Bergson: we see how religion and science go their own ways...
[14:03] Herman Bergson: it is 1630....400 years ago..
[14:03] hope63 Shepherd: actualy we saw that already with phytagoras
[14:03] Herman Bergson: yes Hope..that is the most fascinating part of all
[14:03] Gemma Cleanslate: but he was not taken seiously at the time was he?
[14:04] Herman Bergson: we see it all the time when we concentrate on the development of the human mind through history
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: rehashed thought
[14:04] AristotleVon Doobie: nothing new under the sun?
[14:04] Herman Bergson: I think we have enough to think about now for the coming days..:-)
[14:04] Great discussion..thank you all
[14:05] GHerman Bergson: emma Cleanslate: thank you again Heram
[14:05] Ze Novikov: thank you...
[14:05] Gemma Cleanslate: you did not answer or i did not see it
[14:05] Osrum Sands: With respect it is a Euro Centric view of the minds development
[14:05] Alarice Beaumont: it was very interesting again.. thx a lot Herman :-)
[14:05] Gemma Cleanslate: when do we start our BREAK?
[14:05] Gemma Cleanslate: for the holidays
[14:05] hope63 Shepherd: euro centric?
[14:05] AristotleVon Doobie: TY Herman
[14:05] Rodney Handrick: yes...good discussion
[14:05] Herman Bergson: Yes all happened in Europe
[14:05] Rodney Handrick: Thank you Herman
[14:06] Osrum Sands: as recorded in our history
[14:06] Osrum Sands: but other things were surly developeming in thinking
[14:06] Herman Bergson: Coming Sunday last lecture before the holidays, Gemma..:-)
[14:06] Osrum Sands: but that for another day
[14:06] Gemma Cleanslate: ok lol
[14:06] Gemma Cleanslate: wanted to be sure
[14:06] Zingo Hax: thank hermand and all
[14:07] herman Bergson smiles
[14:07] AristotleVon Doobie: thought and existence, merely shape-shifters in time
[14:07] AristotleVon Doobie: shape
[14:08] Herman Bergson: you are like my RL students Gemma....they wont show up tomorro, I am afraid...Holidays..!!
[14:08] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[14:08] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[14:08] Rodney Handrick: I'll be here...
[14:08] Herman Bergson: but there is still a class on Sunday..:-)
[14:08] Rodney Handrick: I'll be there
[14:08] Alarice Beaumont: great! Looking forward to that!

Posted by herman_bergson on 2007-12-20 18:26:08

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