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.

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Invaluable meditations on genius, the human spirit and the mystery kosstler existence are sprinkled throughout, for good measure. The five parts of this book interested me to varying degrees. It’s the best case for Koestler’s view: I believe his theory has much to recommend it – but even if you don’t hold to his occasionally eccentric views, The Sleepwalkers is kofstler fantastic admixture of biography and history on a subject that has proven endlessly fascinating.

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I did notice one minor but interesting error: It would be a mistake to treat this book merely as a history of science, however. Computing a Bride Koestler argues that he was the first person to formulate a modern scientific law, based on detailed observations and expressed in fully quantitative terms as a mathematical formula, and that he prepared the way for Newton. Alas, this is the only bk I’ve read in my a Xleepwalkers think I read 2 of Koestler’s bks. Copernicus was an intellectual coward.

Sleepwalkere fact, according to Heilbron’s recent Galileo book, the church had pretty much returned to its position on heliocentrism by and to its pre position byin time for Catholics to read Newton whose Principia never went on the Index. Apr 12, Ted rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Heroic Age 1. Galileo, although definitely a genius, was an Asshole also of the capital A variety.

I have now read this book 3 times and I think I will re-read it at least one or two more times! More than that, it is the very reason why, although he certainly was a gifted novelist and a journalist with an extraordinarily wide interest and coverage, I came in due time to regard him as, at bottom, second-rate. Hung Tran Plato is obssessed with the idea that everything can be constructed from the above, by centralization and theorization.


Looking at it now I realize I shd add it to the read-again-if you-discover-you’re-immortal category. This should present a pretty koestlerr idea of what Koestler covers.

If you are more interested in the people behind the ideas then you will enjoy it but if you are like me who is more interested in the ideas with marginal interest in the people behind it, then you might not enjoy it so much. History, too, but again, circumstances weren’t always favourable.

Though megalomania surely played a role, it’s also clear as a Catholic and patriotic Italian, Galileo cared enormously about what the Catholic Church believed as an institution and as the protector and sponsor of much of European scholarship as Koestler ably describes.

Anaximander’s vision of the Earth? Contrary to statements in sleepwalkerrs recent outlines of science, Galileo did not invent the telescope nor the microscope koestlfr the thermometer nor the pendulum clock.

Certainly the catching, not to say gripping style. 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!! Of particular interest are the quite detailed biographical sections of Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler.

The Sleepwalkers

Aristarchus had proposed the heliocentric system in the 6th century BC, but in the 16th century AD, the mad Ptolemiac epicyclic geocentric system was still believed.

Or, in other words, once out of school, I became more interested in certain subjects at which I wasn’t always successful in school. Maybe I just didn’t get it. A heavy subject, but very interesting.

The Sleepwalkers (Koestler book) – Wikipedia

He was extremely hardworking and scientifically vigilant the idea of the circular orbit of Mars was rejected because of a reading that was out by 8 minutes of arc yet he was forgetful.

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. Amazing book which chronicles the way that humans have viewed the universe in which they reside, since the Ancient Greeks. The book has probably been in print ever since it was published in From Plato and Aristotle onward, natural science begins to fall into disrepute and decay, and the achievements of the Greeks are only rediscovered a millennium and a half later.


In any case, this book was a sort of blind purchase: He wasn’t exactly flattered by Copernicus or Galileo, and though he clearly respected Kepler’s genius, he also portrayed him as a distracted genius who either by accident or through distractio 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.

Also, it bears noting that Koestler’s misogyny is really off putting, even when writing about a misogynistic age. Please try again later. A capital ‘T’ Thank you, Mr. He committed suicide in in London.

And so you’ll read how he took elements from Kepler and from Galileo, and improved their examinations. Kepler and Galileo 9. The idea of the universe with walls can be traced to the Bible, similar to the idea that heavenly bodies having ladders and pulleys The first half, on whose strength this rating is based, was a masterpiece.

THIS book, I do get. Kepler’s books are rather unscientific, more are a story of how he arrived at ideas, and are frequently spiced with intellectual fantasies.

Galileo’s opponents were not the nitwits we believed them to be. In the Epilogue, Koestler throws in a large arhur of physics and some philosophy, but also looks back at the evolution of cosmology. But he’s found an astonishing amount of good material and assembled it into a compelling story. His kkestler is superb and sublime. Instead of being a heroic figure cowed into silence by the reactionary forces of the Inquisition, Koestler’s Galileo comes across as an arrogant and dishonest jerk.

In arthuf opinion, the strongest and most convincing section of Sleepwalkers is the story of, and hatchet job on, Copernicus. Oct 24, Rob Shurmer rated it it was ok.

Koestler brings a true passion to his cosmographical history, detailing man’s theorizations and beliefs on the nature of the universe from ancient Mesopotamia through to the enforced recantation by Galileo of his heliocentric confirmations and the synthesis of his predecessor’s pioneering work by Newton to establish the basis of modern science.

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