Galileo's Visions: Piercing the spheres of the heavens by eye and mind

Marco Piccolino, Nicholas Wade

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The central aim of this book is to analyse the scientific and philosophical work of Galileo Galilei from the particular viewpoint of his approach to the senses (and especially vision) as a way for acquiring trustworthy knowledge about the constitution of the world. For Galileo the senses are potentially ambiguous. Accordingly, reliable information capable of penetrating the complexity of reality can only be obtained by interpreting the sensory data critically. The philosophical background of Galileo’s attitude to the senses is his awareness that nature has not developed a specific language aimed at communicating with senses generally and human senses in particular. The culture of his age was based mainly on a mechanist approach to the world. In this context, Galileo’s analysis of the senses corresponds closely to a fundamental tenet of modern sensory physiology and psychophysics—the absence in the world of specific sensory signals like sounds, colours, tastes, and odours.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages336
ISBN (Electronic)9780191766978
ISBN (Print)0199554358 , 9780199554355
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • senses
  • vision
  • sensory data
  • sensory physiology
  • sensory psychophysics
  • sensory signals


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