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. He also provides vivid and judicious pen-portraits of a string of great scientists and makes clear the role that political bias and unconscious prejudice played in their creativity. Arthur Koestler — was an extraordinary polymath, writer, and political polemicist. His most famous works include the novels Darkness at Noon and Arrival and Departure; his autobiographical writings, including Spanish Testament and Scum of the Earth; and his visionary nonfiction,… More about Arthur Koestler. Dawn 2.

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Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? A thought-provoking account of the scientific achievements and lives of cosmologists from Babylonians to Newton. Read more Read less. Amazon International Store International products have separate terms, are sold from abroad and may differ from local products, including fit, age ratings, and language of product, labeling or instructions.

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Show details. Ships from and sold by Amazon US. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Previous page. The Ghost in the Machine. The Act of Creation. Darkness at Noon. The Thirteenth Tribe. Janus: A Summing Up. University Christopher. Next page. About the Author Arthur Koestler was an extraordinary polymath, writer, and political polemicist.

Herbert Butterfield was an influencial historiographer born in in Yorkshire, England. He died in Customers who bought this item also bought. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. No customer reviews. How does Amazon calculate star ratings? The machine learned model takes into account factors including: the age of a review, helpfulness votes by customers and whether the reviews are from verified purchases. Review this product Share your thoughts with other customers.

Write a customer review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. Verified Purchase. Somewhat mistitled, most of the book is actually an account of how the Copernican revolution came about. Disputing historians who saw the Copernican shift as the victory of science over intellectual darkness, Koestler highlights the many accidents and missteps before the intellectual achievement of a heliocentric solar system.

He shows that Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo had one foot in the medieval world and one foot in the modern. In its time, Sleepwalkers supplied a badly needed corrective to rationalist perspectives. Thus, he portrays the history of the separation between faith and science, as symbolized by Galileo, as a tragedy for both. Few contemporary scientists would dispute the need for a spiritually informed practice.

Moreover, historiography has advanced along with atomic physics and the historical predicament. Of course, fear of mutually assured destruction by superpowers no longer fuels a demand for spiritual renewal.

Thus, I do not recommend this book to anyone but Koestler devotees. This is an extraordinary and valuable introduction to the history of astronomy and cosmology. I used in a class I taught many years ago for a period of several years and recommended very strongly Koestler was the well-known novelist "Darkness at Noon" and many other works , who, in his later years turned to writing about the history of science.

His bookThe Watershed enjoyed a great deal of critical acclaim at the time. Some years later, Koestler decided to wrap around that book with a very extensive treatment of the history of astronomy and cosmology, the present volume. I so admire this time of Koestler's because of its treatment of Galileo.

Gone are the simplistic treatments of Galileo's conflict with the church. For example, Galileo was not tortured, but "to be shown the instruments of torture. This is no small distinction. Furthermore Koestler makes clear that there were many within the church who were prepared to accept Galileo's ideas, provided that he advance them as an hypothesis rather than as absolute fact. Not to put too fine a point on it, there are several deficiencies to Galileo's theory.

For example, in particular, only one tide a day Finally Koestler makes it clear that a Galileo did some of his best work in retirement. This is an absolutely enthralling book, which I used in class for many years and heavily annotated. I purchased this volume to give to a friend. In this excellent contribution, Aurthur Koestler slices through the sterile refinement between " sciences' and " humanities' to enliven the entire history of cosmology from Babylonians to Newton. He indicates how the appalling part in the middle of science and religion emerged and how, specifically , the advanced world perspective supplanted the medieval world view in the logical denouement of the seventeenth century.

He additionally gives clear and reasonable pen-representations of a string of erudite researchers and makes pass the part that political predisposition and oblivious bias played in their innovation. Good review of the history of cosmology up though Kepler and Newton. Well written an easy to follow. Explains how mankind eventually came to understand the nature of the solar system and how it worked.

I have only rudimentary knowledge of the history of astronomy. Koestler's book may be on or off base in parts. I simply do not know -- though I suspect from the nature of the reviews and the praise from it has received from friends I trust who do have the requisite knowledge, although Koestler's treatment of Galileo may be unduly harsh, the overall treatment of the topic is wonderfully composed and written in a fashion that makes it hard to put down. A definite recommendation. Go to Amazon.

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Book review: The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler

It traces the history of Western cosmology from ancient Mesopotamia to Isaac Newton. He suggests that discoveries in science arise through a process akin to sleepwalking. Not that they arise by chance, but rather that scientists are neither fully aware of what guides their research, nor are they fully aware of the implications of what they discover. A central theme of the book is the changing relationship between faith and reason. Koestler explores how these seemingly contradictory threads existed harmoniously in many of the greatest intellectuals of the West. He illustrates that while the two are estranged today, in the past the most ground-breaking thinkers were often very spiritual. Another recurrent theme of this book is the breaking of paradigms in order to create new ones.


On Rereading Arthur Koestler’s Sleepwalkers

The Sleepwalkers is an enlightening history of astronomy from the Ancient Greeks to Newton. It particularly focuses on three characters who shifted scientific consensus from the Ptolemaic geocentric model of the solar system to a heliocentric one: Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo. And characters is the right word, because Koestler digs into their personal quirks and foibles with gusto. If he is to be believed, these three key scientists were all temperamental to the point of self-destructiveness. In doing so, he was inspired by Ancient Greek writings, and in particular references to the heliocentric system that Heraclides of Pontos and Aristarchus of Samos proposed in the 3rd century BC. Copernicus was terrified by the prospect of criticism, so that it took decades for him to publish his conclusions On the revolutions of the celestial spheres only came out just before his death in But in fact, the publication itself was fairly irrelevant: it was tedious and actually more complicated than existing geocentric systems.

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