Chapter

Modernizing Theoretical Knowledge

Robert S. Westman

in The Copernican Question

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780520254817
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948167 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520254817.003.0018
Modernizing Theoretical Knowledge

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The Copernican question is a subset of a larger problem: How did modernizers win credibility for new theoretical knowledge? This chapter examines some recent, alternative proposals, with special focus on Galileo. There are two central issues. One concerns the nature and centrality of patronage as a kind of early modern sociability, the other the degree to which court sociabilities or aristocratic status in some way gave legitimacy to conditions of belief. The chapter first discusses theoretical knowledge and scholarly reputation of celestial practitioners, then describes patron-centered heavenly knowledge. It also looks at Galileo and the aristocratic sphere of learned sociability, sociabilities in the Medici court in Florence, Galileo's decision to leave Padua for Florence, his detection of novel appearances using the telescope, and the reactions of Raffaelo Gualterotti and Giovanni Battista Manso to Galileo's discoveries.

Keywords: Galileo; theoretical knowledge; scholarly reputation; patronage; learned sociability; Florence; Padua; telescope; Raffaelo Gualterotti; Giovanni Battista Manso

Chapter.  15183 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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