Unless it explains, history is trivial.
Write a short persuasive essay agreeing or disagreeing with a common interpretation about the topic and expressing your own view
Write your interpretation in a 1200-1800 word essay.
It’s time to put on our thinking caps and interpret the significance of what we’ve been exploring! Unless it explains, history is trivial. Did you discover anything unexpected this week that needs to be explained? What surprised you this week? Did you make any unexpected discoveries? What was the most meaningful part of your explorations this week?
Script from the Interpretation video at Janux:
It’s time to put on our thinking caps and interpret the significance of what we’ve been exploring! Unless it explains, history is trivial. Did you discover anything unexpected this week that needs to be explained?
In your explorations of Galileo’s life and work, you encountered many different, sometimes contradictory explanations. With Galileo, misconceptions and urban legends abound. Interpretations of Galileo have varied immensely over time, and continue to be disputed even today. Imagine that you are at a coffee-house talking about Galileo with a friend. Your conversation touches upon some of the most common misconceptions and contested interpretations. These include the following ideas:
Are these conceptions widespread? How profoundly do they shape our perception of Galileo today? Which of these, do you and your friend agree, are misconceptions? What is the kernel of truth behind them? How would you reply to a friend who asks you about them? Are there other common but disputed interpretations about Galileo you would add to this list?
Two of the most significant aspects of Galileo’s work for the history of science are:
With respect to the trial: What is your explanation of the trial proceedings and of the verdict passed upon Galileo? Suppose that you are now transported back to the early 1600’s. You will eventually become one of the cardinals who refuses to sign Galileo’s sentence. But at the moment, that sentence lies still in the future. The trial has not yet begun. Now, trained as a theologian for the Church, you are asked by the pope to serve on a papal advisory panel to manage the case of Galileo. What advice and counsel would you offer, given the historical setting, that might avert the tragic events of the trial? What points would you make? How would you couch your argument?
Finally, with respect to new methodologies, Galileo wrote: “Philosophy [i.e., physics] is written in this grand book--I mean the universe--which stands continually open to our gaze, but it cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and interpret the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these, one is wandering around in a dark labyrinth.” Galileo, The Assayer (1623)
How does this quotation from The Assayer illustrate Galileo’s significance for the development of a mathematical approach to physics? Why was the power of mathematical methods applied to problems in physics so underestimated at the time?
How has your understanding of Galileo changed as a result of the readings this week?
What is the most significant implication of what you have learned this week?
What is your interpretation?
Instructions for Interpretation assignments:
Here is the text of the Desire2Learn Gradebook Declaration:
(7 points) I have posted my Interpretation at Confluence. My Interpretation shows that I have thought about BOTH Context and Evidence assignments for this week. I have done a word count, and my Interpretation is at least 600 words min. My word count does NOT include the original question I am responding to, any quotations from assigned readings, or the two notes at the end of the essay.(7 points) I have posted an Interpretation at Confluence that is at least 1200 words min. and no more than 1800 words max.
(1 point) My Interpretation contains an explanation of how I came up with my point of view (not part of the word count)..
(1 point) My Interpretation contains a sentence explaining the genre or style of writing I adopted (not part of the word count).
(2 points) My Interpretation contains a citation or link to at least one relevant source (such as the assigned readings) including either a primary source or a secondary source written by an author with demonstrable knowledge of the primary sources.
(2 points) My Interpretation contains a citation or link to at least two relevant sources (such as the assigned readings) including either a primary source or a secondary source written by an author with demonstrable knowledge of the primary sources.
Do you have a great quote for this page? Let me know! (If used, a new quote is worth 1 point extra credit)
This course is currently undergoing major reconstruction to bring it into alignment with the new version of the course at Janux