Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Franceso Ingoli, Galileo and the Roman Inquisition
In January of 1616, the month before before the Roman Inquisition would infamously condemn the Copernican theory as being “foolish and absurd in philosophy”, Monsignor Francesco Ingoli addressed Galileo Galilei with an essay entitled “Disputation concerning the location and rest of Earth against the system of Copernicus”. A rendition of this essay into English, along with the full text of the essay in the original Latin, is provided in this paper. The essay, upon which the Inquisition condemnation was likely based, lists mathematical, physical, and theological arguments against the Copernican theory. Ingoli asks Galileo to respond to those mathematical and physical arguments that are “more weighty”, and does not ask him to respond to the theological arguments at all. The mathematical and physical arguments Ingoli presents are largely the anti-Copernican arguments of the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe; one of these (an argument based on measurements of the apparent sizes of stars) was all but unanswerable. Ingoli's emphasis on the scientific arguments of Brahe, and his lack of emphasis on theological arguments, raises the question of whether the condemnation of the Copernican theory was, in contrast to how it is usually viewed, essentially scientific in nature, following the ideas of Brahe.
"FRANCESO INGOLI'S ESSAY TO GALILEO: TYCHO BRAHE AND SCIENCE IN THE INQUISITION'S CONDEMNATION OF THE COPERNICAN THEORY" by Christopher M. Graney