Il saggiatore (The assayer) by Galileo Galilei (–) is the final and most significant work in the polemic regarding the characteristics of. Galileo Galilei; Il Saggiatore (The Assayer); Rome, This quietly polemical text puts the case for a pared-down scientific conception of matter and a. This is Galileo’s argument from “The Assayer,” which I encountered in both my history survey of modern philosophy and in metaphysics. Galileo.

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February 10, at This is a bit rough. He begins by defining heat. He clarifies that people believe gwlilei to be a genuine or primary quality, but it is not.

When thinking of a corporeal substance, Galileo states that a gali,eo of qualities are necessary or primary: These qualities are different from those qualities determined by our senses or secondary qualities.

The primary qualities exist regardless of people, but the secondary qualities would disappear without living creatures to experience them—secondary qualities exist only in the experiencing body. His example is that when tickling someone, the tickled person experiences being tickled, and the tickling is not a quality inherent in the hand doing it.

Leaf of book The Assayer (Il Saggiatore) by Galileo Galilei, 1623. Artist: Anonymous

Galileo proceeds by explaining the senses and their relation to elements. Some bodies assaysr into tiny particles and rise or fall: Sound results from vibrations in the air.


Galileo states that vision relates to light, but in a complicated way that he does not understand much about and even to explain what he does know would take too long, so he does not go further into this observation.

Galileo then returns to his initial argument that heat is caused by motion. He argues that heat is caused by tiny corpuscles moving at such a speed that they penetrate our bodies and that when they pass through us, the touch we feel is the heat.

The Assayer – Wikipedia

If there were no animate or sentient beings to experience heat, it would not exist. When these small corpuscles cease to move, then there is no more heat. asszyer

Always, the mere presence of fire-particles alone will not create heat. There must be motion.

It is motion that causes wood to burn or metal to melt. Things do not need to heat up simply because they are moving. However, when two things are rubbed together, the friction creates motion, which allows for the fire-particles to be released. This reduces the particle to motion, which then can cause heat by passing through our bodies. This briefly causes Galileo to revisit the idea of light. The rubbing of particles, when occurring quickly, generates heat.


But Galileo abandons this track of logic for the same reason as before because it is too complex to address at the given time. In short, it follows that heat is a subjective or secondary quality that only exists because our bodies can interpret the moving fire-particles through touch, as they pass through our bodies. April 30, at 4: You are commenting using your WordPress.

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Works of Galileo Galilei, Part 3, Volume 15, Astronomy: The Assayer – World Digital Library

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