Dialogues and Discourses: Conversing with Early Modern Natural Philosophy

6 April 2005 at The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX

The world was changed by a conversation that never took place. Galileo’s Dialogue discoursing upon the Two Main Systems of the World, Ptolomaic and Copernican (1632) imagined in everyday language and through common experience what it might be like to live in a shifting world. The trial the book provoked exposed deep tensions between different kinds of knowledge and their institutions. The aim of this conference is to reapproach the Dialogue through a variety of contexts: the history of the book, literary studies and history and philosophy of science, to understand its production and reception. Some of the questions we will be asking are: why was it written in that form (what was the epistemological status of a natural philosophical dialogue, how did other natural philosophers use the form)? How did groups of readers (natural philosophers, censors, theologians, courtiers, etc.) make sense of the work? How is the historian to treat the text and construct a meaningful context for it, given the revolutionary nature of its claims and the extremity of contemporary responses to it?

Speakers include:

Ingrid Rowland (Princeton University), Jim Bennett (Museum of the History of Science, Oxford), Eileen Reeves (Princeton University)

For further information, including full programme and booking forms, please visit: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/2004-5/dialdiscourses.html

or email: [email protected]