Galileo: A Very Short Introduction

By Stillman Drake | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 5
The Dialogue and the Inquisition

From 1624 to 1630 Galileo was intermittently at work on his book, which at the last moment he was instructed not to call ‘Dialogue on the Tides’ because that would stress a physical argument for motions of the earth. It was a reasonable instruction in view of the traditional astronomical meaning of treating planetary motions hypothetically only, and leaving all physical considerations out of account, so Galileo changed the title to Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World Ptolemaic and Copernican.

The dialogue form had been chosen for various reasons, among which was the fact that during the sixteenth century that form had become very popular for books designed to educate the public. The master— pupil conversations that first appeared for such purposes tended to be dull catechisms, so Galileo's dialogue introduced in effect two experts who vied for the support of a third, uncommitted participant. Another reason for writing in dialogue form was that the author could detach himself from commitment to views that might be objectionable. One spokesman principally represented Galileo, who himself appeared in the book only as ‘our friend’, or ‘the Academician’, or the like, when he wished to assert his personal claim to or responsibility for certain things.

Galileo made his principal spokesman Filippo Salviati, who had died


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Galileo: A Very Short Introduction


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 127

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?