Galileo Galilei
Il Saggiatore (The Assayer)
Rome, 1623

This quietly polemical text puts the case for a pared-down scientific conception of matter and a mathematical basis for science.

Excerpt: How the mind's intuitions lead me to conceive of matter

"So I tell you, as soon as I conceive of a corporeal material or substance, I clearly feel pulled out of necessity to conceive that it is bounded or having this or that shape, that it is large or small in relation to others, that it is in this or that location, at this or that time, that it moves or is still, that it touches or does not touch another body, that it is one, few, or many, nor by any imagination can I separate it from these conditions; but that it be white or red, bitter or sweet, sounding or mute, of a pleasant or unpleasant smell, I do not feel compelled in the mind to apprehend it necessarily accompanied by such conditions." In Galileo (1929-39), VI:347-8 (my translation).






Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles