A psychoanalysis of Galileo Galilei: observed personality traits as contributing factors in his condemnation by the Catholic Church in 1633

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Southern New Hampshire University
Galileo Galilei, and his condemnation by the Catholic Church, termed the Galileo Affair, has been studied for over three hundred centuries, with the preponderance of the literature focusing on and directing animosity between the science and religious disciplines. Avenues of research have included the economic, religious, political, and social lenses; directing the focus everywhere but at Galileo himself. It is for this reason that we seek to psychoanalyze Galileo. A psychoanalysis of an individual examines what lies beneath the surface of their conscious behavior to determine what motivates that person, and why at times they behave counter to their own best interests. This research examines the observed personality traits of Galileo and how these traits directly impacted his career, condemnation, and more specifically the level of the severity of his sentencing using select excerpts of letters of correspondence between the years of 1606-1633. These documents were compiled into the accompanying digital exhibit, the Psychoanalysis of Galileo Galilei. Although this research primarily psychoanalyzes Galileo’s personality, there are also connections drawn between Galileo’s patronage networks and the political turmoil of the period. (Author abstract)