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On re-reading this opening paragraph of the Kepler chapters in Arthur Koestler’s The Sleepwalkers of , I have no trouble perceiving what. Arthur Koestler. The Sleepwalkers. A History of Man’s changing vision of the Universe. With an Introduction by. Herbert Butterfield. 1. Awakening. We can add to. An extraordinary history of humanity’s changing vision of the universe. In this masterly synthesis, Arthur Koestler cuts through the sterile.

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He mouths the same old criticisms of Plato sleeppwalkers Aristotle, essentially blaming them for the beliefs of their later followers. During the last few centuries, from about A. He got mighty close to universal gravitational theory, yet some mental block stopped him – he realised that any two bodies attract one another, yet frequently wondered about the force that the sun was sleepwakkers to the earth.

Yet, his name was constantly invoked when it came to the great discoveries of astronomy through the middle ages and the renaissance.

On Rereading Arthur Koestler’s Sleepwalkers – Shells and Pebbles

Plus, on the face of it, it’s a book I really should enjoy. Throughout this highly detailed work by Koestler there is a pendulum swing that might be said to center on a balanced integration of the mystical with the rational.

Yes, I give myself up to holy raving. This was okay,but no more. Religion and science don’t complement each other any more unless you’re open-minded to find that it’s not one or the other, of course, that each is, one way or another, right.

The Sleepwalkers

The Journal of Philosophy. If you’re interested in learning where modern science comes from, you might want to check him out. Below, a few paragraphs that have caught my attention: Though all of his in-depth portrayals of the principal Renaissance cosmographic entrepreneurs – Koestleer, Tycho Brahe, Galileo – koester delightful and informative, it is in his depiction of the irrepressible Johannes Kepler that the book reaches its apogee.


Arstotle and Plato’s ideas about the immutability of the heavens and the variability, and hence inferiority, of the sub-lunar regionthe chain of being down from God to the lowest particle of dirt, with everyone and everything having a place, and that sleepwalkets motion of heavenly bodies is circular and with uniform speed, all become completely accepted into mainstream thought and religion, and hence were dogma.

Stay in Touch Sign up. I would advise the reader to do the same, if you read it as your primary read there is a good chance you will shelve it after the umpteenth letter telling Copernicus to get rid of his mistress.

His second law, that a planet sweeps out equal areas in equal time, was derived by calculations that included two mistakes that happened to cancel each other out. Galileo’s opponents were not the nitwits we believed them to be.

An excellent in depth story about the development of astronomy and the people who made the measurements and interpreted the results. The detailed account of Copernicus was also illuminating, though here, again, I thought Koestler was a little unfair.

He also – pardon my French – lacked the balls to stand up for himself. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. I’d forgotten how much I liked this book These were the first natural laws – precise, verifiable statements expressed mathematically, and ended finally the epicycle nightmare of the previous two millennia.

The idea that the Copernican model was a beautiful idea rendered useless as science or physics by the staid medieval mind of its adapter casts a totally different light on the developments of the century that followed.

Despite this, Kepler emerged as a true giant of science, and his two immutable laws of astronomy paved the way for modern astronomy. The book has probably been in print ever since it was published in People seriously interested in the history of science. He was gracious and had no notion of intellectual property. This is the kind of book writers should read. In he joined the Communist Party of Germany but, disillusioned, he resigned from it in and in published a devastating anti-Communist novel, Darkness at Noonwhich propelled him to instant international fame.


We are given letter correspondences in verbatim, dozens of letters, book excerpts are quoted in great detail, copies of Galileo’s judgement are quoted, large chunks in verbatim! Slowly, though, science and religion grew apart coming to a climax with the trial of Galileo and the heliocentric debate.

But the blurb looked interesting and the shopkeeper told me several other customers had really liked the book. Tycho de Brahe 5. Kepler’s cheerful and unflagging efforts – in the face of poverty, disease, betrayal, stubbornness, blind alleys, mistakes, and tragedy – to establish a logical and mathematical basis for the planet’s enigmatic orbits; his capacity for both sarcastic antagonization and affectionate loyalty in his dealings with others; his creative and virile genius in doing much of the leg work necessary for Galileo’s success; in short, his so very human failings and virtues make his story the epitomy of the creative potential of the inspired human spirit.

In any A heavy subject, but very interesting. Paperbackpages. His writing is superb and sublime.

From a certain perspective, we could say that the sleepwalkerrs which causes the pendulum to swing is human free will and the ability we have to view the world from numerous perspectives.

And so you’ll read how he took elements from Kepler moestler from Galileo, and improved their examinations. I live in the city. It ends with Newton and an analysis of the new synthesis that occurred with his works. A series of well researched essays on Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, and how they stumbled, or in Koestler’s words – sleepwalked, their way through their eponymous works and discoveries.

The same accusation could be made of Galileo in his early years.