Phil 203: Galileo Assayer Reading- Finding Ways to Revolutionize Science

Our Buddy Aristotle lived 1225-1274.

The gave us these concepts

1  Category

9 Accidents

…Substance, quality, quantity, relation….

  • Dog-animal-organism-substance
  • red-color-quality
  • hot-quality





Our Buddy Galileo lived 1564-1642.

All that stuff mentioned above was a stale, dogmatic, rigid feeling by our buddy G’s time.

(The way that you do science is with mathematics.) (that fact just never settled in with me before.)

…distinction between primary & secondary qualities…

(I heard him mention Galileo did nothing? Not really relevant though….)


Galileo wants to say that heat is not a primary quality. He wants to claim the motion that it is a secondary quality.

Primary qualities being: Shape, size , speed. Officially: “Primary qualities are thought to be properties of objects that are independent of any observer, such as solidity, extension, motion, number and figure” -wikipedia.

Secondary qualities being: “are thought to be properties that produce sensations in observers, such as color, taste, smell, and sound.” -wikipedia.

True nature of things…distorts reality in some sense…”heat,” idol of the tribe: that we perceive things through a funhouse mirror, senses included.


in the concept of body I am compelled to think of x, then x is really these in a body. If not, it is just the way I am affected by the body.” (concept of a body is the space it occupies. Like a 3-d rectangle.)

Is this table really smooth. Is there a property of smoothness, in this table. (G disagrees.) (‘can’t be an objectively real feature of the thing.’) Galileo wants to say smoothness or roughness is just thew ay we describe the shape.


I reduce A to B by expressing A entirely in terms of B. And I also claim that B is more fundamental and real. (if you reduce the color red to just light refracting off the retina.)

Temperature does quantify heat  G was basically right… This century we have internalized Galileo’s language…

distinction that makes sense…

co-effecientcy & friction & all the rest…

To Mathmaticize it is to claim: -that’s the real thing. What you are claiming to have done is to have gotten to the primary quality.

(After contemporary Galileo we have Descartes.)

Okay so now we are talking Descartes.

Our buddy Descartes lived 1596-1650.

He invents Analytic Geometry.

He unifies four things that had never been unified before. Geometry. Arithmetic. (algebra.) Cartesian Coordinate System. (a way to unify shapes and figures with numbers.) He contributed to knowledge of optics. (lenses.)

He wants to have certain knowledge- knowledge void of errors- he’s going to try and doubt everything he can and see if there is anything left. And that is a good basis for….foundation for…

  • The world.

There was one thing Descartes wasn’t able to doubt. That he was doubting. “If i’m doubting then I must exist. I cannot perform the act of thinking without existing.”  That’s his sure foundation for truth. I think, therefore I exist.


In the reading we are moving into Descartes Meditations. The mediations is a dialogue. What it is- what’s his goal, what’s he going to prove – accomplish – that is what we keep in mind while reading. (also subtitles…just check those out…)

Correspond to…


Revolutionize science in various ways… (that’s Descartes goal.)

The next notes will continue with “Meditations” lecture. (the first meditation.)


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