Filip A. A. Buyse
University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
In Il Saggiatore (1623), Galileo makes a strict distinction between primary and secondary qualities. Although this distinction continues to be debated in philosophical literature up to this very day, Galileo's views on the matter, as well as their impact on his contemporaries and other philosophers, have yet to be sufficiently documented. The present paper helps to clear up Galileo's ideas on the subject by avoiding some of the misunderstandings that have arisen due to faulty translations of his work. In particular, it shows how Galileo's distinction directly implicates a novel understanding of physical bodies, which played an important part in his later condemnation by the Catholic Church. At the same time, the paper also argues that Galileo's distinction can already be found in the text and illustrations of earlier, popular Copernican writings.
Keywords Galileo  Qualities  Properties  Il Saggiatore  The Assayer  Body  Qualities
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