The relationship between science and theology in Galileo’s work is usually studied with reference to the Copernican letters and the so-called ‘Galileo affair,’ ended with Galileo’s abjuration in 1633. This dissertation tackles the same subject, but from a different angle. Galileo’s approach to the creation theme does indeed allow us to inquiry into the relationship between science and theology while keeping Biblical exegesis and Galileo’s trial on the background. The dissertation is divided into two parts: (1) “Creation,” and (2) “Cosmogony.” In the first part, a series of primary sources are considered (Benedetto Castelli’s letter to Galileo of April the 1st, 1607; a few unpublished folios from the reportationes of Muzio Vitelleschi’s course on natural philosophy held at the Roman College in 1589-90; some passages of Galileo’s Juvenilia) which help us gauge, albeit indirectly, Galileo’s attitude toward the possibility of demonstrating creatio de novo (the beginning of the world) and creatio ex nihilo (the existential dependence of creatures on God). Although some initial supporters of Galileo sought to demonstrate creatio de novo through his definition of motion, he never welcomed their attempt. He probably agreed with Castelli that the demonstration of creatio de novo was beyond the reach of his science and, in general, of human knowledge (a position that, for the sake of convenience, I have referred to as ‘agnosticism’). As regards creation out of nothing, at Galileo’s time this notion was usually treated in light of a metaphysical understanding of the relationship between God and creatures – a relationship which entailed an understanding of God as primum ens (first being). This notion is also used in the Juvenilia, namely, a series of pages reporting standard arguments of Scholastic philosophy, which Galileo copied from other sources. I have interpreted the total absence of the idea of God as primum ens in the original writings of Galileo as a sign that Galileo was not interested in the problem of creatio ex nihilo, nor did he consider its metaphysical solution. In the second part, I have argued that Galileo was interested in the cosmogony problem, namely, he tried to understand how God imposed order on the primeval chaotic universe. Cosmogony was refuted in the Aristotelian tradition on the basis that motion and gravity cannot be conceived of out-side the orderly framework of the universe. In this view, mechanics leans on cosmology, and vice versa. Galileo separates the two, but through cosmogony he tries to reconcile his cosmological views (initially geocentric, then heliocentric) with his understandings of motion and gravity. Thanks to Copernicus, he is able to ‘mathematize’ the cosmogony problem. Thus, the solution to this problem becomes an important scientific task, one that allows Galileo to advocate the relevance of his science on a universal scale.

GALILEO: CREATION AND COSMOGONY. A STUDY ON THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN GALILEO'S SCIENCE OF MOTION AND THE CREATION THEME / I.g. Malara ; tutors: E. Nenci, L. Bianchi, M. Van Dyck ; phd coordinator: A. Pinotti. - : . Dipartimento di Filosofia Piero Martinetti, 2021 Jun 24. ((33. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2020. [10.13130/malara-ivan-giuseppe_phd2021-06-24].

GALILEO: CREATION AND COSMOGONY. A STUDY ON THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN GALILEO'S SCIENCE OF MOTION AND THE CREATION THEME.

I.G. Malara
2021-06-24

Abstract

The relationship between science and theology in Galileo’s work is usually studied with reference to the Copernican letters and the so-called ‘Galileo affair,’ ended with Galileo’s abjuration in 1633. This dissertation tackles the same subject, but from a different angle. Galileo’s approach to the creation theme does indeed allow us to inquiry into the relationship between science and theology while keeping Biblical exegesis and Galileo’s trial on the background. The dissertation is divided into two parts: (1) “Creation,” and (2) “Cosmogony.” In the first part, a series of primary sources are considered (Benedetto Castelli’s letter to Galileo of April the 1st, 1607; a few unpublished folios from the reportationes of Muzio Vitelleschi’s course on natural philosophy held at the Roman College in 1589-90; some passages of Galileo’s Juvenilia) which help us gauge, albeit indirectly, Galileo’s attitude toward the possibility of demonstrating creatio de novo (the beginning of the world) and creatio ex nihilo (the existential dependence of creatures on God). Although some initial supporters of Galileo sought to demonstrate creatio de novo through his definition of motion, he never welcomed their attempt. He probably agreed with Castelli that the demonstration of creatio de novo was beyond the reach of his science and, in general, of human knowledge (a position that, for the sake of convenience, I have referred to as ‘agnosticism’). As regards creation out of nothing, at Galileo’s time this notion was usually treated in light of a metaphysical understanding of the relationship between God and creatures – a relationship which entailed an understanding of God as primum ens (first being). This notion is also used in the Juvenilia, namely, a series of pages reporting standard arguments of Scholastic philosophy, which Galileo copied from other sources. I have interpreted the total absence of the idea of God as primum ens in the original writings of Galileo as a sign that Galileo was not interested in the problem of creatio ex nihilo, nor did he consider its metaphysical solution. In the second part, I have argued that Galileo was interested in the cosmogony problem, namely, he tried to understand how God imposed order on the primeval chaotic universe. Cosmogony was refuted in the Aristotelian tradition on the basis that motion and gravity cannot be conceived of out-side the orderly framework of the universe. In this view, mechanics leans on cosmology, and vice versa. Galileo separates the two, but through cosmogony he tries to reconcile his cosmological views (initially geocentric, then heliocentric) with his understandings of motion and gravity. Thanks to Copernicus, he is able to ‘mathematize’ the cosmogony problem. Thus, the solution to this problem becomes an important scientific task, one that allows Galileo to advocate the relevance of his science on a universal scale.
NENCI, ELIO
PINOTTI, ANDREA
Galileo Galilei; Cosmogony; Creation
Settore M-FIL/06 - Storia della Filosofia
Settore M-STO/05 - Storia della Scienza e delle Tecniche
GALILEO: CREATION AND COSMOGONY. A STUDY ON THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN GALILEO'S SCIENCE OF MOTION AND THE CREATION THEME / I.g. Malara ; tutors: E. Nenci, L. Bianchi, M. Van Dyck ; phd coordinator: A. Pinotti. - : . Dipartimento di Filosofia Piero Martinetti, 2021 Jun 24. ((33. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2020. [10.13130/malara-ivan-giuseppe_phd2021-06-24].
Doctoral Thesis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/851519
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