Bluffing with Galileo . . .
In yesterday's post, I sang the virtues of careful empiricism and rigorous logic, values I claimed Galileo had learned from his father, Vincenzo, but Dario Rivarossa called my bluff:
relying on empiricism and rigorous logicChased, chastened, and thereby more chaste, I acknowledged the overstatement:
Maybe not that much. See Paul Feyerabend, Against Method.
Also, see Heilbron, further on in the biography. Galileo learned to appeal to empiricism and rigorous logic, and even use them, but he was often bluffing, which he learned from his love of gambling, and acting out in his intellectual battles the part of the proud and adventurous knight Orlando, whom he knew well from Ariosto, having memorized large sections of the poem.Of course, she was also laughing at me as she smiled. But let that be. Today, I want to back up my admission on Galileo's 'more-than-rigorous' empirical rationality:
Speaking of romantic heroes, I once danced with Feyerabend's inamorata and had her smiling . . .
A calculation by Galileo of the relative frequencies of specific throws with three dice has survived. Its main operative result is that 10 turns up more frequently than 9 once in 108 throws. Only a frequent player could hope to use this information to advantage. As a good gambler Galileo occasionally bluffed by raising the stakes on a losing hand -- a technique he later identified with the propensity of his philosophical opponents to add reckless worthless arguments to bad ones. The criticism better applied to him. His later claims about experimental results and theoretical insights contained a quantity of bluff. (John L. Heilbron, Galileo, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, page 24)Unfortunately, both Galileo and I got caught bluffing, and we've both now faced our separate Italian inquisitions.
But I'm not currently under house arrest. My wife and I today went out to explore her childhood neighborhood here in Daegu and took an opportunity to peer through the cracks in a gate to see the house where she lived until she began high school. We head tomorrow for Busan, which might put me offline until Sunday, but we'll see what transpires. I might manage to locate an internet connection . . .