Advertisement

Heaviness, Lightness and Impetus in the Seventeenth Century: A Jesuit Perspective

  • Rivka FeldhayEmail author
  • Ayelet Even-Ezra
Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 270)

Abstract

This paper examines the mechanical project of a Jesuit scientist-engineer Paolo Casati (1617–1707), as presented in his Mechanicorum libri octo (1684). The core of the project consists in an attempt to physicalize the mathematical science of machines while using Archimedes’s lever principle and his theory of buoyancy. Casati, however, aimed at enriching this science with principles originating in the Aristotelian science of motion. The fusion of Archimedean and Aristotelian elements—including the concept of impetus as the sole cause of motion—allowed him to deal with the motion of machines in terms of a hydrostatic theory of motion, neutralizing the Aristotelian notion of “positive lightness,” but without erasing it. This he did while engaging himself with experiments on “positive lightness” done at the Academia del Cimento (1657–1667). While this analysis throws light on the transformation of Aristotelian science in Jesuit schools of the seventeenth century, it also frees some Jesuits, at least, from a far too simplistic historiographical category of Galileo’s “nemici” (foes) and inserts them instead into the field of debates relevant for understanding the emergence of “the new science.”

Keywords

Lightness Levity Heaviness Gravity Impetus Paolo Casati Jesuit science Academia del Cimento Archimedean tradition 

References

  1. Abetti, Griorgio, and Pietro Pagnini, eds. 1942. L’Accademia del Ciemento: parte prima. Vol. 1. Le opere dei discepoli di Galileo Galilei. Florence: Barbèra.Google Scholar
  2. Anstey, Peter R., and A. Schuster. 2005. The science of nature in the seventeenth century: Patterns of change in early modern natural philosophy. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aristotle. 1585. Quaestiones mechanicae; De miraculis naturae; Physiognomica; De lineis insecabilibus, haec & alia sequens pagina indica. Venetijs: Bruniolo.Google Scholar
  4. Aristotle, and W.K.C. Guthrie. 1939. Aristotle in twenty-three volumes. Vol. 6. On the heavens. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. The Loeb Classical Library.Google Scholar
  5. Baldini, Ugo. 1992a. Archimed en el seicento Italiano. In Archimede: Mito tradizione scienza (Siracusa-Catania, 9–12 ottobre 1989), ed. Corrado Dollo, 237–289. Florence: Olschki.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1992b. Legem impone subactis: Studi su filosofia e scienza dei Gesuiti in Italia 1540–1632. Rome: Bulzoni.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 2000. Saggi sulla cultura della Compagnia di Gesù (secoli XVI–XVIII). Padua: CLEUP.Google Scholar
  8. Bardi, Giovanni di. 1614. Eorum quae vehuntur in aquis experimenta. Rome: Zannetti.Google Scholar
  9. Benedetti, Giovanni Battista. 1553. Resolutio omnium Euclidis problematum aliorumque ad hoc necessario inventorum una tantummodo circini data aperture. Venezia, Apud Bartholomaeum Caesanum. Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1585. Book of various mathematical and physical ideas [Diversarum speculationum mathematicarum, et physicarum]. In Mechanics in sixteenth-century Italy. Selections from Tartaglia, Benedetti, Guido Ubaldo, & Galileo, ed. S. Drake and I.E. Drabkin. Turin/Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  11. Beretta, Marco, Antonio Clericuzio, and Lawrence Principe, eds. 2009. The Accademia del Cimento and its European context, proceedings of a conference held in Florence, 14–15 December 2007. Sasgamore Beach, MA: Science History Publications.Google Scholar
  12. Blair, Ann. 1999. The Problemata as a natural philosophical genre. In Natural particulars: Nature and the disciplines in renaissance Europe, ed. A. Grafton and N.G. Siraisi. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  13. Borelli, Giovanni Alfonso. 1670. De motionibus naturalibus a gravitate pendentibus. Bologna: Dominici Ferri.Google Scholar
  14. Boschiero, Luciano. 2003. Natural philosophical contention inside the Accademia del Cimento: The properties and effects of heat and cold. Annals of Science 60 (4): 329–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ———. 2007. Experiment and natural philosophy in seventeenth-century Tuscany: The history of the Accademia del Ciemento. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  16. Buonamici, Francesco. 1591. De motu. Vol. 5. Florence: Sermartellius.Google Scholar
  17. Casati, Paolo. 1658. Terra machinis Mota. Rome: Iganitij de Lazaris.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 1684. P. Casati, Mechanicorum libri octo, in quibus uno eodemque principio vectis vires physice explicantur & geometrice demonstrantur, atque machinarum omnis generis componendarum methodus proponitur. Lyon: Apud Anissonios.Google Scholar
  19. Cornaeus, Melchior. 1657. Curriculum philosophiae Peripateticae. Herbipoli: sumptibus & typis Eliae Michaelis Zinck.Google Scholar
  20. Damerow, Peter, Gideon Freudenthal, Peter McLaughlin, and Jürgen Renn, eds. 2004. Exploring the limits of preclassical mechanics: A study of conceptual development in early modern science: Free fall and compounded motion in the work of Descartes, Galileo, and Beeckman. 2nd ed. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  21. Dear, Peter. 1995. Discipline and experience: The mathematical way in the Scientific Revolution. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. ———. 2006. The meanings of experience. In The Cambridge history of science: Early modern science, ed. Katherine Park and Lorraine Daston, 106–131. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Del Monte, Guidobaldo. 1577. Guidobaldi e Marchionibus Montis mechanicorum liber. Pisauri: Apud Hyeronimum Concordiam.Google Scholar
  24. Des Chene, Dennis. 1995. Physiologia: Natural philosophy in late Aristotelian and Cartesian thought. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Dollo, Corrado. 1990. Galilei e la fisica del Collegio Romano. Giornale Critico della Filosofia Italiana 71: 161–201.Google Scholar
  26. ———, ed. 1992. Archimede: Mito tradizione scienza. Florence: Olschki.Google Scholar
  27. Drabkin, I.E., and Stillman Drake, eds. 1960. Galileo Galilei on motion and on mechanics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  28. Drake, Stillman. 1981. Cause, experiment, and science. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  29. Drake, Stillman, and I.E. Drabkin, eds. 1969. Mechanics in sixteenth-century Italy. Selection from Tartaglia, Benedetti, Guido Ubaldo, & Galileo. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  30. Duhem, Pierre Maurice Marie. 1905. Les origines de la statique. Paris: Hermann.Google Scholar
  31. Elazar, Michael. 2011. Honoré Fabri and the concept of impetus: A bridge between conceptual frameworks. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Favaro, Antonio, ed. 1968. Le opere di Galileo Galilei, nuovaristampa della edizione nazionale 1890–1909. Vol. 20. Florence: Barbèra.Google Scholar
  33. Feingold, Mordechai. 2007. Review: Marcus Hellyer. Catholic phyics: Jesuit natural philosophy in early modern Germany. Renaissance Quarterly 60 (1): 225–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Feldhay, Rivka. 2006. On wonderful machines: The transmission of mechanical knowledge by Jesuits. Science and Education 15 (2–4): 151–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Galilei, Galileo. 1587–1588. Theoremata circa centrum gravitatis solidorum. In Le opere di Galileo Galilei: nuovaristampa della edizione nazionale 1890–1909, ed. Antonio Favaro. Florence: Barbèra.Google Scholar
  36. Galluzzi, Paolo. 1981. L’Accademia del Cimento: “Gusti” del principe, filosofia e ideologia dell’esperimento. Quaderni Storici 16 (48): 788–844.Google Scholar
  37. ———, ed. 2001. Scienzati a corte. L’arte della sperimentazione nell’Accademia Galileana del Cimento (1657–1667). Firenze: Galleria degli Uffizi. 18 marzo–18 giugno 2001. Livorno: Sillabe.Google Scholar
  38. Gatto, Romano. 2002. Le mecaniche: Edizione critica e saggio introduttivo di Romano Gatto. Florence: Olschki.Google Scholar
  39. Gavagna, Veronica. 1999. Il carteggio Casati (1642–1695). Bollettino di storia delle scienze matematiche 18: 3–15.Google Scholar
  40. Gorman, Michael John. 1998. The scientific counter-revolution: Mathematics, natural philosophy and experimentalism in Jesuit culture, 1580–1670. Ph.D. Dissertation. Florence: European University Institute.Google Scholar
  41. ———. 2003. Mathematics and modesty in the society of Jesus: The problems of Christoph Grienberger. In The new science and Jesuit science: Seventeenth-century perspectives, ed. M. Feingold, 1–121. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  42. Hellyer, Marcus. 2005. Catholic physics: Jesuit natural philosophy in early modern Germany. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  43. Meli, Domenico Bertoloni. 2006. Mechanics. In Early modern science, ed. Katharine Park and Lorraine Daston, 632–672. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Middleton, William Edgar Knowles. 1971. The experimenters: A study of the Accademia del Cimento. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  45. Mugler, Charles. 1951. Archimède répliquant à Aristote. Paris: Les Belles-lettres.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Palmerino, Carla Rita. 2003. Two Jesuit responses to Galileo’s science of motion: Honoré Fabri and Pierre Le Cazre. In The new science and Jesuit science: Seventeenth-century perspectives, ed. M. Feingold, 187–227. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Phillips, Edward C. 1939. The correspondence of father Christopher Clavius S. I. Preserved in the archives of the Pont. Gregorian university. Archivum historicum societatis Iesu VIIII (2): 193–222.Google Scholar
  48. Renn, Jürgen, and Peter Damerow. 2012. The equilibrium controversy: Guidobaldo del Monte’s critical notes on the mechanics of Jordanus and Benedetti and their historical and conceptual background. Berlin: Edition Open Access. http://www.edition-open-sources.org/sources/2/index.html.
  49. Rinaldini, Carlo. 1681. Philosophia rationalis, naturalis atque moralis. Vol. 1. Padua: Frambotti.Google Scholar
  50. Scaduto, Mario. 1949. Il matematico Francesco Maurolico e i Gesuiti. Archivum historicum societatis Iesu XVIII (35): 126–141.Google Scholar
  51. Shea, William R. 1968. Galileo’s discourse on floating bodies: Archimedean and Aristotelean elements. In Actes du XIIe Congrès International d’histoire des Sciences. Paris: Blanchard.Google Scholar
  52. Schuster, John A. 2013. What was the relation of baroque culture to the trajectory of early modern natural philosophy? In Science in the age of baroque, ed. O. Gal and R. Chen-Morris, 13–45. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  53. Valleriani, Matteo. 2010. Galileo engineer. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wallace, William A. 1977. Galileo’s early notebooks: The physical questions. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  55. ———. 1981. Preludeto Galileo. Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  56. ———. 1984. Galileo and his sources: Heritage of the Collegio Romano in Galileo’s science. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas & Minerva Humanities CenterUniversity of Tel AvivTel Aviv-YafoIsrael
  2. 2.History DepartmentThe Hebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations