Prison and Torture as False but Well-Founded Myths
Science, Method, and Argument in Galileo
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This essay discusses two common myths about the Inquisition trial of Galileo: that he was tortured during the proceedings, and that he was imprisoned as punishment for his alleged crime. The truth is that although Galileo underwent an interrogation with the verbal threat of torture, he did not undergo actual torture; and although he was under house arrest during the 1633 trial and for the subsequent 9 years of his life, he was never held in an actual prison. However, it would be a historical and philosophical error to think that these myths are, or have always been, without foundation. On the contrary, for 150 years after the 1633 trial, the publicly available evidence indicated that Galileo had been imprisoned, and so it was then plausible and reasonable to hold the prison thesis. Similarly, for an even longer period (250 years), the available evidence indicated that he had been tortured, and so the torture thesis was then rationally defensible.
Galilei, Galileo, 1564-1642; Inquisition; Imprisonment
History of Philosophy | Philosophy
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Finocchiaro, M. A.
Prison and Torture as False but Well-Founded Myths.
Science, Method, and Argument in Galileo, 40
Cham, Switzerland: Springer, Cham.