Whitehead on Bruno

"Giordano Bruno was the martyr: though the cause for which he suffered was not that of science, but that of free imaginative speculation. His death in the year 1600 ushered in the first century of modern science in the strict sense of the term. In his execution there was an unconscious symbolism: for the subsequent tone of scientific thought has contained distrust of his type of general speculativeness." -- Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, p. 1

The Catholic Church was perhaps kinder to Bruno than the modern academy would be: While the church at least considered his ideas important enough to execute him, the modern academy would simply relegate his sort of speculation to the dustbin of "not worthy of serious consideration."


  1. If Bruno got kindness, I'll take the horribly unkind treatment.

    1. I take it you are not an intellectual TGGp. For an intellectual, being ignored is far worse than being executed.

  2. You know, I agree with TGGP. When you're on fire, I think you'd rather be ignored. However, Bruno would be right at home in any Physics department in the world, so long as he learned to say things like Quantum, Strings, Bubbles and Higgs...