The Trials of Bruno and Galileo
Midtown Manhattan, New York City
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This essay undertakes a critical comparison and contrast between the Inquisition trials of Giordano Bruno and of Galileo. It focuses not only the facts of the two cases, but also on the procedures followed during the proceedings; on the causes and issues for their respective condemnations; and on their aftermath in modern Western culture. A main conclusion is that whereas Bruno’s trial reflected a tension between religion and philosophy, Galileo’s trial reflected a tension between religion and science. Although this thesis is an approximation, it is correct as a first approximation, and the qualifications can be usefully elaborated; for example, in Bruno’s case, philosophy means primarily metaphysical speculation, and in Galileo’s case science means natural philosophy and critical argumentation. A surprising conclusion is that, although the documentation of the two trials is similar only with respect to a single document, this document is the so-called “summary,” which did indeed summarize the proceedings and was used by the judges to arrive at their verdict.
Bruno, Giordano, 1548-1600; Galilei, Galileo, 1564-1642; Causation
Philosophy | Philosophy of Science
Finocchiaro, M. A.
The Trials of Bruno and Galileo.
Argumentation Library, 40
Midtown Manhattan, New York City: Springer.