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Notes and Discussions GALILEO AND THE SCHOOL OF PADUA The first issue of the Journal of the History of Ideas, appearing in 1940, contained an article on the development of scientific method in northern Italy during the Renaissance and its significance for the growth of modern science. It is no exaggeration to say that this article, by John H. Randall, Jr., has been one of the most important and influential contributions to the history of ideas in recent years, casting new light on a much-neglected tradition (Italian Aristotelianism) and suggesting an entirely different picture of Galileo's relations to the school philosophy of his day. Randall's thesis has won wide acceptance, by such competent and careful scholars as Crombie, Dijksterhuis, Butterfield, and the Kneales. Giacomo Zabarella (1532-1589) has been restored to the high esteem in which he was held in the Renaissance, and has been hailed as the thinker who "summed up the collective wisdom of the Padua school" and "formulated the classic version of their teaching method, in the terms and with the distinctions so fruitfully employed and consciously expressed by Galileo." Now the article has been reprinted (John H. Randall, Jr., The School of Padua and the Emergence of Modern Science [Padua, 1961], 141 pp.) with several other provocative articles reassessing the thought of Pomponazzi and Leonardo Da Vinci, as the first in a series of monographs sponsored jointly by the universities of Padua and Columbia. It has also been incorporated in a chapter of Randall's admirable Career of Philosophy, but without the Latin texts that make the present edition definitive. In the face of the almost universal acceptance of Randall's thesis, I find it an uncongenial task to express a dissenting opinion with regard to its crucial point, namely, the presumed debt of Galileo to Zabarella. Uncongenial , because much of what Randall has urged seems well taken, and because there is an initial attractiveness about the view that philosophical discussions at Padua could have contributed to the birth of the new science. Historians of science are usually so unfair to philosophy that it is refreshing to be able to entertain the view that scientific research may even have received some encouragement from philosophers. And it is prima facie plausible that this encouragement should have come to a focus at Padua in the sixteenth century, for here if anywhere the new science was born. Unfortunately, the resulting picture of Galileo leaves us with some puz- [zz3] 224 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY zling facts, or more precisely, non-facts: if we accept it, we are left wondering why there is so little tangible evidence of Zabarella's influence on Galileo. It may well be that there is evidence that I have missed, and for the sake of the reputation and prestige of Italian Aristotelianism, I hope there is. But I should like to present some of the difficulties I have with Professor Randall's thesis, in the hopes that some defender of his view will be inspired to allay my misgivings. Anyone who has ever read a page of Galileo's writings knows how often and violently he expressed his opposition to "the Aristotelians" and with what withering scorn he treated the contemporary representatives of the Peripatetic tradition. He often concedes that Aristotle would have been more flexible than his so-called followers, and would have yielded to new evidence in natural philosophy. But Galileo never admits that Aristotle's followers have developed anything of scientific value in the way of methodology . The methodology of the Aristotelians relied exclusively on the syllogism ; but Galileo specifically insists that the syllogism has no value in scientific discovery, whatever its other uses may be. In the face of these stronglyexpressed and consistently-held attitudes, it is hard to see how Zabarella, a loyal Aristotelian who relied exclusively on the syllogism as the "instrument of science," could have escaped Galileo's general condemnation. This point would lose its force if Galileo had ever expressly singled Zabarella out as a shining exception among the run-of-the-mill Aristotelians. Unfortunately, there is no mention of Zabarella in the whole mass of Galileo 's writings, and there is no evidence that...