Philosophical Exercises by Antonio Rocco


In Esercitazioni filosofiche (Philosophical exercises), published in 1633 and dedicated to Pope Urban VIII, the Italian priest and philosophy teacher Antonio Rocco (1586–1653), presented various Aristotelian theories intended to challenge the new scientific method of Galileo Galilei (1564–1642). A self-declared adherent of the Peripatetic school of philosophy, Rocco denounced the evidence-based science pioneered by Galileo and argued for adherence to the Aristotelian approach of deriving scientific truths from general principles. Rocco’s book was a direct assault on Galileo’s Dialogo sopra i massimi sistemi del mondo (Dialogue concerning the two chief world systems), published in 1632. Galileo had already been denounced by the Inquisition for teaching the Copernican view of the solar system, which placed the sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe, and he prudently chose not to compromise himself by publishing new material to rebut Rocco. Instead, he wrote a heated defense of his arguments directly on this copy, using numerous marginal notes and annotations on papers added to the printed volume.

Last updated: October 17, 2011