Myth-making or Enlightenment?

Maurice A. Finocchiaro

in Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780520242616
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941373 | DOI:
Myth-making or Enlightenment?

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This chapter explores a miscellany of texts and events that begin in the period 1657–1777. It investigates the reappearance of Blaise Pascal's comparison in the French Encyclopedia. Antoine Arnauld understood that the condemnation was based on the claim that the earth's motion was “false and absurd in philosophy.” In 1709, in a work on the history of heresy, Domenico Bernini asserted that Galileo was held in an Inquisition prison for five years. Pierre Estève stated that Galileo had his eyes gouged out as part of his punishment. Voltaire had fallen under the spell of the prison myth. Jean D'Alembert interpreted Galileo's trial as epitomizing the conflict between science and religion. D'Alembert was sincere in his respectful and positive expressions about Pope Benedict XIV, and indeed this pope was generally liked and respected.

Keywords: Blaise Pascal; Antoine Arnauld; Domenico Bernini; Pierre Estève; Galileo; Jean D'Alembert; Voltaire; Encyclopedia

Chapter.  8906 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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