Thursday, September 24, 2015

Why Galileo Preferred Copernicus

He preferred Coperican orbits to Ptolemaic because... well, let's have him tell us:

"If God... had wanted the planets to execute spirals... he could have easily brought it about... "[But] what would God have preferred: that the planets should fly about in composite, ever-changing, and irregular curved motions... or that each should describe a circle, uniform and regular as possible...? There is no one who philosophizes soberly who would not affirm the latter opinion and altogether reject the former." -- quoted in Howard Margolis, It Started with Copernicus, p. 91

So, a major reason for Galileo's scientific choice here was his contemplation of what God would have preferred.

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