Galileo, the Jesuits, and the Medieval Aristotle: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Galileo, the Jesuits, and the Medieval Aristotle

1st Edition

By William A. Wallace


352 pages

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Hardback: 9780860782971
pub: 1991-10-27
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The conventional opposition of scholastic Aristotelianism and humanistic science has been increasingly questioned in recent years, and in these articles William Wallace aims to demonstrate that a progressive Aristotelianism in fact provided the foundation for Galileo's scientific discoveries. The first series of articles supply much of the documentary evidence that has led the author to the sources for Galileo's early notebooks: they show how Galileo, while teaching or preparing to teach at Pisa, actually appropriated much of his material from Jesuit lectures given at the Collegio Romano in 1598-90. The next articles then trace a number of key elements in Galileo's later work, mainly relating to logical methodology and natural philosophy, back to sources in medieval Aristotelian thought, notably in the writings of Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas. La mise en opposition conventionnelle entre l’aristotélisme scolastique et la science humaniste a été de plus en plus remise en question durant les dernières années. Tout au long de ces articles, William Wallace tente de démontrer que l’aristotélisme progressif a en fait pourvu le fondement des découvertes scientifiques de Galilée. Le premier groupe d’articles fournit la plupart des preuves documentées qui ont mené l’auteur aux sources des premiers cahiers de notes de Galilée; on y voit comment celui-ci, alors qu’il enseignait, ou s’apprêtait à enseigner à Pise, s’était en fait approprié quantité de donneés issues de cours magistraux jésuites qui avaient été donnés au Collegio Romano entre 1588 et 90. Les études suivantes retracent à leur tour un certain nombre d’elements-clef des travaux ultérieurs de Galilée, se rapportant plus particulièrement à la méthodologie logique et a la philosophie naturelle, jusqu’à leurs sources dans la pensée aristotélicienne du Moyen Age, notamment dans les écrits d’Albert le Grand et de Thomas d’Aquin.

Table of Contents

Contents: Aristotelian influences on Galileo's thought; The problem of causality in Galileo's science; Aristotle and Galileo: the uses of hypothesis (suppositio) scientific reasoning; Galileo and Aristotle in the Dialogo; Randall redivivus: Galileo and the Paduan Aristotelians; The early Jesuits and the heritage of Domingo de Soto; The problem of apodictic proof in early 17th-century mechanics: Galileo, Guevara, and the Jesuits; Science and philosophy at the Collegio Romano in the time of Benedetti; Albertus Magnus on suppositional necessity in the natural sciences; The scientific methodology of St Albert the Great; St Thomas's conception of natural philosophy and its method; Aquinas on the temporal relation between cause and effect; Thomas Aquinas on dialectics and rhetoric; Aristotelian science and rhetoric in transition: the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; The intelligibility of nature: a neo-Aristotelian view; Index.

About the Author

William A. Wallace is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and History of Science, The Catholic University of America, Washington DC, USA

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General