Galileo: Science and Religion

William Carroll & Peter Hodgson

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This course considers how the “legend” of Galileo’s encounter with the Inquisition compares with the historical record, the decisions of the Inquisition, and the issues surrounding whether there is a demonstration for the motion of the earth. We also consider the main source of Galileo’s ideas on natural philosophy; why he believed that the earth goes round the sun, his work on sunspots, his explanation of comets, why he became involved in so many arguments with other scientists, the role of thought experiments in his arguments, some of the scientific instruments he made, and their importance for his discoveries, and finally assess his contribution to the development of our ideas of motion.


8 1-hour lectures.

  1. The Legend of Galileo
  2. Galileo and the Renaissance
  3. Galileo the Physicist
  4. Galileo the Astronomer
  5. Galileo and the Inquisition I
  6. Galileo and the Inquisition II
  7. Galileo and the Inquisition III
  8. Galileo: Theologian
 Study Materials