An extraordinary history of humanity’s changing vision of the universe. In this masterly synthesis, Arthur Koestler cuts through the sterile distinction between. 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. ovelist, essayist and political man of action, Arthur Koestler emerges in this book as a historian of the sciences. He traces, with a comic writer’s eye and a.

Author: Faugor Fejinn
Country: Equatorial Guinea
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Politics
Published (Last): 15 December 2005
Pages: 35
PDF File Size: 11.90 Mb
ePub File Size: 6.78 Mb
ISBN: 147-6-84704-963-9
Downloads: 85179
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Yozshudal

Classic history of ideas.

Of particular interest are the quite detailed biographical sections of Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler. It ends with Newton and an analysis of the new synthesis that occurred with his works.

There is not a necessary sleepwalkeds to human thought or development. But this is not fiction and in this case I am not so much following Koestler’s flow as I am skipping from current to current in this little bit of his head and everywhere I swim I meet the biggest most awesome sharks and the most colourful fish. How imaginative but now taken in the negative connotation of the word I did not care to find out.

Koestler’s findings that I found notable included: To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

The Road to Great Discovery Is Itself a Thing of Wonder

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 the motion of heavenly bodies is circular and with uniform speed, all become completely accepted into mainstream thought and religion, and hence were dogma.

We are told about Copernicus, how he was reminded a million times to get rid of his mistress, we learn about how Tycho was stingy with his data, how Keppler might have had slight delusions on his reality and who will forget the controversial Galileo who called people who did not believe in Copernicus’ heliocentricity half humans.

He shows how the tragic split between science and religion arose and how, in particular, the modern world-view replaced the medieval world-view in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century.

Amazing context historic, scientific, religious, moral, but above all – human given to the subject of how the universe works. This, of course, is not the case. The emphasis now shifts from the evolution of ideas to the individuals responsible for it, beginning in Part 3 with Copernicus.


The intention of Arthur Koestler’s Aethur Sleepwalkers is to provide a comprehensive survey of man’s ideas about the universe which encompasses him. In his Retrying Galileo ofa most useful book overall, Finocchiaro has included a not particularly fair chapter on The Sleepwalkers. Copernicus was an intellectual coward. Galileo obtained a shift in the burden of proof between the scientists and the church.

Koestler wrote that there have been many books already about artbur man’s life, that it wasn’t really necessary to include such details, thus better to focus on his work. Hence the importance of Augustine, who was not only the most influential churchman of the earlier Middle Ages, the chief promoter of the Papacy as a supranational authority, and the originator of the rules of monastic life; but koestleer all the living symbol of continuity between the vanished ancient, and the emerging new civilization.

On Rereading Arthur Koestler’s Sleepwalkers – Shells and Pebbles

To start with, Galileo was not defending state-of-the-art science, which was Kepler’s system, but the outdated Copernican universe, by then nearly a century old; he had never bothered to read Kepler’s books properly. Having perceived the first glimmer of dawn eighteen months ago, the light of day three months ago, but only a few days ago the plain sun of a most wonderful vision — nothing shall now hold me back. And so you’ll read how he took elements from Kepler and from Galileo, and improved their examinations.

Dec 28, Erik rated it really liked it. For other uses, see Sleepwalker. By using this site, you agree loestler the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe

Koestler’s anti-Galileo arguments also tend to be a bit blunt and partisan. The idea that Galileo’s quarter-century diversion into astronomy was actually a waste of his time that could have been devoted to his real forte — dynamics — is provocative and mainly credible though it gives short shift to Galileo’s calculations of the periods of the Jupiter moons, which the literally-myopic Kepler thought impossible.

Koestler presents a nice and detailed overview of how man’s view on the cosmos changed from gods to a scientific approach though that one came quite late. More important is the following. Years following one approach, not comfortable with the results, then another major approach, then another, fruitlessly trying to solve the puzzle, which he finally did in the formulation of Kepler’s 3 laws of planetary motion!!

Well, Copernicus could perhaps have achieved more: The first half, on whose strength this rating is based, was a masterpiece. The best description of the ti I would devide my life to before and after reading Koestler. I am confused by the very end of the book. Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo found out by accident whilst concentrating on other matters, other influences about Earth’s and other planets’ rotation around the sun and not the other way around.


He describes the past as evolution of thought modeled on Darwin’s biological theory.

Kepler and Galileo 9. Also, Koestler downplays the Newtonian synthesis But ancient science was a much more interesting phenomenon than Koestler realizes. In this masterly synthesis, Arthur Koestler cuts through the sterile distinction between ‘sciences’ and ‘humanities’ to bring to life the whole history of cosmology from the Babylonians to Newton.

Slowly, though, science and religion grew apart coming to a climax with the trial of Galileo and the heliocentric debate. The longest section in the book is about Kepler, clearly Koestler’s favorite. But, then, who can see the stars anymore? All of which is to say that over the years I have become a good deal more critical about the first book on the history of science that I ever encountered and devoured than when I first read it in the best-selling Penguin edition of The disagreement with the Church is usually portrayed as simply being about the question of whether the Earth went round the Sun or vice versa, with Galileo clearly being the good guy.

Alas, this is the only bk I’ve read in my astronomy section. I’m lengthening wleepwalkers review today by giving the table of contents. Hung Tran Plato is obssessed with the idea that arrthur can be constructed from the above, by centralization and theorization. View all 8 comments. I live in the city. Let’s leave that metaphor to go where it will.

In order to make revolutionary discoveries, one sleepwalkrrs peal back the layers of accepted thought and question dogma. Astronomy began simply as sky-geometry, it was not until Kepler that someone attempted to apportion a causality to the movements. Feb 07, Tim rated it it was amazing Shelves: In the middle of the all the gory religious persecution of medieval Europe, a guy figured out that the planets move in an elliptical, as opposed to a circular, orbit around the sun.

Apr 03, George Alberts rated it it was amazing.

Related Posts