Letter | Published:

Galileo and Mathematical Demonstration

Nature volume 140, page 646 (09 October 1937) | Download Citation

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Abstract

IN support of his contention that Galileo regarded mathematical demonstration as an a priori method of reaching truth, G. J. Whitrow, in his contribution to the supplement to NATURE of June 121, states that my uncle, the late Mr. J. J. Fahie, has shown that “to satisfy his [Galileo's] own mind alone he had never felt it necessary to make any [experiments]". This is a misquotation. In my uncle's book the words are2: "It was in reference to this controversy [on floating bodies] that Galileo declared that ignorance had been the best master he ever had, since, in order to be able to demonstrate to his adversaries the truth of his conclusions, he had been forced to prove them by such a variety of experiments as made himself doubly confident ; though to satisfy his own mind alone he had never felt it necessary to make many".

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References

  1. 1.

    NATURE, 139, 1008 (1937).

  2. 2.

    , “Galileo”, p. 145 (1903).

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Affiliations

  1. University College, Dublin.

    • WILLIAM CUSACK FAHIE

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/140646a0

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