Abstract

Marin Mersenne was central to the new mathematical approach to nature in Paris in the 1630s and 1640s. Intellectually, he was one of the most enthusiastic practitioners of that program, and published a number of inºuential books in those important decades. But Mersenne started his career in a rather different way. In the early 1620s, Mersenne was known in Paris primarily as a writer on religious topics, and a staunch defender of Aristotle against attacks by those who would replace him by a new philosophy. In this essay, I would like to examine Mersenne's changing attitude toward Galileo. In the early 1620s, Mersenne lists Galileo among the innovators in natural philosophy whose views should be rejected. However, by the early 1630s, less than a decade later, Mersenne has become one of Galileo's most ardent supporters. How, then, did Mersenne learn to love Galileo?

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