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A. Overview: The purpose of this book is to show Galileo at work on his science. Drake feels that biographers can overemphasize the cultural context that surround their subjects. Thus he argues that you cannot understand Galileo’s thought by the “thoughts of all his predecessors and contemporaries.” So the approach of this book is to examine Galileo’s scientific life year by year. It is more of a yearly chronicle than a biography. It is based on documentary evidence. Opposes Koyré. B. Why is Drake important to study: No one knew Galileo better than Drake. Galileo was his life’s work. He made himself into an excellent linguist. He dealt in the manuscripts at great length. He does find that Galileo was an experimentalist which agrees with contemporary debate (Koyre argued that his was a Platonist and not an experimentalist).C. Galileo historiography1. Koyré, Galileo Studies. Places Galileo in a tradition of abstract thought (Plato) rather than induction from experience. This was the first work to suggest that thesis. Galileo was placed in a tradition of Descartes and medieval philosophy.2. Arthur Koestler, The Sleepwalkers. Portrays Galileo’s work as incorrect and without scientific basis. 3. The main differences of opinion among all the histories include a) The sources that Galileo used in his investigations. According to Drake, Galileo had read Aristotle, Copernicus, Ptolemy, but he wanted to break with medieval philosophy. b) The relations of Galileo’s science to philosophy and religion at that time. He wanted to remove his studies from the realm of philosophy and theology and work only in areas which could be verified by experiment. D. Galileo’s trial1. This is perhaps the closest thing to biography we get in this book. Galileo is presented as a suffering man. But the problem is that this section does not fit with the rest of the book (because it does not deal with his work).2. Also, Galileo is presented like a hero here at the trial. Drake spends many pages showing how Galileo did not lie to Bellarmine in 1616 about discussing Copernican theory. (Who cares if he lied?)E. Galileo’s science1. Drake attempts to explain away all possible error (disagreement with modern science).2. This is not presented for people to learn about Galileo. It is intended for specialists. His two great works, Dialogue and Discourses are not treated in summary fashion. 3. Tides: Galileo believed that the moon’s effect on the tides was nothing more than a hidden cause favored by astrologers. He wanted to explain tides in terms of the earth’s 2 motions. Drake argues that a careful understanding of Galileo’s theory will show that it accounted for his obervations.

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