Finocchiaro, Maurice A. 1942-
Finocchiaro, Maurice A. 1942-
(Maurice Anthony Finocchiaro)
PERSONAL: Born June 13, 1942, in Floridia, Italy; immigrated to United States, 1957; naturalized U.S. citizen; son of Biagio (an unskilled laborer) and Jane (a homemaker) Finocchiaro; married Ramona K. Thomason, 1966. Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, B.S., 1964; University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 1969.
CAREER: University of Nevada, Las Vegas, assistant professor, 1970-74, associate professor, 1974-77, professor, 1977-91, distinguished professor, 1991-2003, emeritus, 2003—. Visiting scholar at Harvard University, 1998-99.
MEMBER: American Philosophical Association, Philosophy of Science Association, History of Science Society, Association for Informal Logic and Critical Thinking, American Association for Italian Studies.
AWARDS, HONORS: Barrick Distinguished Scholar Award, 1981, 1986, and 1998; fellowships, National Endowment for Humanities, 1983-84, American Council of Learned Societies, 1991-92, Guggenheim Foundation, 1998-99; William Morris Award for Excellence in Scholarship, 1989; National Science Foundation grant, 1998-2001; National Endowment for Humanities grant, 1992-95.
History of Science as Explanation, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1973.
Galileo and the Art of Reasoning: Rhetorical Foundations of Logic and Scientific Method, Reidel (Boston, MA), 1980.
Gramsci critico e la critica, Armando Editore (Rome, Italy), 1988.
(Selector, translator, editor, and author of introduction and notes) The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1989, special edition with introduction by Alan M. Dershowitz, Gryphon (New York, NY), 1991.
(Selector, translator, editor, and author of introduction, notes, and commentary) Galileo on the World Systems: A New Abridged Translation and Guide, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1997.
Arguments about Arguments: Systematic, Critical, and Historical Essays in Logical Theory, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2005.
Contributor of more than one hundred articles and essays to periodicals, books, and various other publications, including Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, edited by R. Audi, Cambridge University Press, 1995. Contributor of book reviews to numerous publications, including Philosophy and Rhetoric, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Isis, Argumentation, Philosophy in Review, International Studies in Philosophy, and Journal for the History of Astronomy. Editorial board member for numerous publications, including Informal Logic, 1984—, Philosophy and Rhetoric, 1987-2003, Philosophical Forum, 1988—, Isis, 1991-93, 2003-05, Argumentation, 1994—, and Inquiry: Critical Thinking across the Disciplines, 1996—.
SIDELIGHTS: Maurice A. Finocchiaro is a distinguished emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Finocchiaro writes widely about the history and philosophy of science, logical theory and critical thinking, and the history of modern political theory. He has contributed articles, essays, and book reviews to such publications as Argumentation and Philosophy and Rhetoric. He is also the author of several critically acclaimed books, including Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, which explores the cultural myths surrounding Galileo Galilei, the seventeenth-century Italian philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician.
In Beyond Right and Left: Democratic Elitism in Mosca and Gramsci, Finocchiaro investigates the links between Italian jurist and political theorist Gaetano Mosca, a thoroughgoing conservative, and Marxist Antonio Gramsci, the founder of the Italian Communist Party. “Simply put, Finocchiaro argues that there is a tradition of political theory shared by both Mosca and Gramsci, and this tradition, called ‘democratic elitism,’ attempts to integrate or synthesize the opposing notions of elitism and democracy,” observed Benedetto Fontana in the American Political Science Review. Mosca, in his 1896 book The Ruling Class, argued the inevitability of a two-class society, comprised of a ruling minority and a governed majority. Riccardo Pozzo, writing in the Review of Metaphysics, noted that “Gramsci was well aware of Mosca’s theories, because he subjected Mosca’s concept of political class to a detailed criticism,” adding, “Gramsci widened the scope of the elitist phenomenon by considering also the case of one homogeneous class, one part of which inevitably leads the other.” In Beyond Right and Left, Pozzo stated, “Finocchiaro argues that Gramsci’s understanding of the connection between hegemony and democracy … is nothing else than an application of Mosca’s concept.” By investigating the relation between Gramsci’s revolutionary politics and Mosca’s theory of political elites,” Fontana stated, “Finocchiaro makes a valuable and important contribution to political thought and to the history of ideas.”Fontana concluded, “An extended and vigorous examination of the relation between Mosca and Gramsci has been long overdue, and Finocchiaro has certainly proved equal to the task. In sum, he has written a refreshing and provocative work, closely argued and finely nuanced.”
In Arguments about Arguments: Systematic, Critical, and Historical Essays in Logical Theory, Finocchiaro collects twenty-three essays that appeared in journals, anthologies, and conference proceedings over the course of three decades. The author defines such concepts as argument analysis, judgment, and methodological reflection, examines the role of critical thinking in science, and offers case studies from Isaac Newton, Christiaan Huygens, and other scientists. According to Thomas M. Lessl, writing in Argumentation and Advocacy, the book’s “unifying subject is informal logic. Those whose exposure to this subject has been limited to just a few of the authors more generally read in the field of communication, such as Stephen Toulmin, Chaim Perelman, and Henry Johnstone, will find their horizons much broadened here.”
Finocchiaro has produced a number of highly regarded works about Galileo. In Galileo and the Art of Reasoning: Rhetorical Foundations of Logic and Scientific Method, the author examines Galileo’s methods of scientific inquiry. Lessl called Galileo and the Art of Reasoning “a book that deserves to be read by all who have an interest in the rhetoric of science. It is an illuminating examination of the argumentation employed by not only one of science’s great figures but also one of its great writers.” Finocchiaro later served as the editor and translator of Galileo on the World Systems: A New Abridged Translation and Guide. In the work, he presents a critical study of Galileo’s 1632 book Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems, which supported the Copernican heliocentric worldview that the earth revolved around the sun. “A vast store of personal scholarship underlies the translator’s efforts,” William A. Wallace commented in the Review of Metaphysics. Wallace noted the author “has had the advantage of consulting the four previous English translations of the Dialogue. Perhaps more important, his introduction and his notes throughout the volume give a minicourse in the history and philosophy of science, airing the conflicting views of practitioners of these disciplines, fairly and concisely, as they bear on Galileo.”
In Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, Finocchiaro surveys the aftermath of the “Galileo Affair,” the trial and condemnation of Galileo by the Roman Catholic Church in 1633. According to Review of Metaphysics critic Jude P. Dougherty, “Without doubt the Galileo affair is one of the most studied events in the history of Western culture.” Galileo’s defense of the Copernican theory of the universe, which was contrary to church teachings, was considered heresy, and he received warnings from Cardinal Bellarmine that he should not discuss heliocentrism. Though Galileo agreed to teach Copernican theory only as a mathematical proposition, with the publication of Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems, he was called to Rome to face the Inquisition. Galileo was found guilty of heresy and was placed under house arrest until his death in 1642. In Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, observed Catholic Historical Review contributor Richard J. Blackwell, Finocchiaro “turns his attention to the very complex history of how the results of that trial were received, interpreted, refuted, reinforced, misinterpreted, and mythologized in the next three and a half centuries up to, and including, Pope John Paul II’s ‘rehabilitation’ of Galileo in 1993.” Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992 garnered strong reviews, and several critics applauded Finocchiaro’s extensive research efforts. “The unalloyed strength of the book is the treasure chest of primary documents—all carefully translated, many generously reproduced in full—that Finocchiaro offers his readers,” noted Matthew Day in Church History. “The ability to find such gems as the first newspaper account of Galileo’s trial …, Descartes’ letters about the trial and its impact on his publication strategy., and Maurizio Benedetto Olivere’s 1820 report on the ‘Settele Affair’ …, in a single volume is, in a word, extraordinary.” Dougherty complimented the author’s “painstaking account of contemporary reactions to Galileo’s difficulties, primarily as a result of his study of the correspondence between Galileo and others, some of which is translated into English for the first time.” In the words of American Scientist contributor Peter Slezak, “The book is an invaluable resource and a landmark—a uniquely comprehensive survey of the twists and turns of the Galileo story.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October, 1990, Albert S. Lindemann, review of Gramsci and the History of Dialectical Thought, p. 1159.
American Political Science Review, December, 1999, Benedetto Fontana, review of Beyond Right and Left: Democratic Elitism in Mosca and Gramsci, p. 952.
American Scientist, March 1, 2006, Peter Slezak, “Trial of the Centuries,” review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 176.
Argumentation and Advocacy, spring, 2006, Thomas M. Lessl, review of Arguments about Arguments: Systematic, Critical, and Historical Essays in Logical Theory.
British Journal for the History of Science, June, 2007, James Hannam, “The Church and Galileo,” review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 285.
Catholic Historical Review, July, 1990, William A. Wallace, review of The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History, p. 597; July, 2006, Richard J. Blackwell, review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 329.
Choice, November, 1999, P. Coby, review of Beyond Right and Left, p. 618; October, 2005, V.V. Raman, review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 312.
Church History, September, 1991, Christopher B. Kaiser, review of The Galileo Affair, p. 393; June, 2006, Matthew Day, review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 403.
Communication Research, December, 1989, review of Gramsci and the History of Dialectical Thought, p. 827.
Ethics, April, 1990, J.V. Femia, review of Gramsci and the History of Dialectical Thought, p. 700.
First Things, March, 2007, review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 55.
Historian, spring, 2007, Ernan McMullin, review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992.
Isis, September, 1992, review of The Galileo Affair, p. 490; September, 1999, William T. Lynch, review of Galileo on the World Systems: A New Abridged Translation and Guide, p. 595; December, 2005, William R. Shea, review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 644.
Journal for the History of Astronomy, November, 2005, Owen Gingerich, “Fresh Perspective of the Galileo Affair,” review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 443.
Journal of European Studies, March, 2006, Jeremy Black, review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 92.
Journal of the History of Philosophy, January, 1992, Patrick Murray, review of Gramsci and the History of Dialectical Thought, p. 151; October, 1992, Ernan McMullin, review of The Galileo Affair, p. 608.
Nature, October 5, 1989, Robert Temple, review of The Galileo Affair, p. 394.
New Scientist, June 2, 1990, Julie Johnson, review of The Galileo Affair, p. 62.
Philosophy of the Social Sciences, December, 1990, “Must Thinking Be Critical to Be Critical Thinking? Reply to Finocchiaro,” p. 453; June, 1994, Danilo Zolo, review of Gramsci and the History of Dialectical Thought, p. 234.
Physics Teacher, September, 1999, Donald H. Kobe, “Galileo for Today’s Reader,” p. 370.
Political Studies, June, 1990, Richard Bellamy, review of Gramsci and the History of Dialectical Thought, p. 387.
Reference & Research Book News, November, 2005, review of Arguments about Arguments.
Renaissance Quarterly, spring, 2007, Wallace Hooper, “The Church and Galileo,” review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 220.
Review of Metaphysics, September, 1989, Paolo Guietti, review of Gramsci and the History of Dialectical Thought, p. 157; March, 1998, William A. Wallace, review of Galileo on the World Systems, p. 683; June, 2001, Riccardo Pozzo, review of Beyond Right and Left, p. 915; December, 2005, Jude P. Dougherty, review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 419.
Science, May 15, 1981, William Shea, “Galileo and the Art of Reasoning,” p. 780; July 1, 2005, Peter Machamer, “The Many Trials of Galileo Galilei,” review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 58.
Science & Society, summer, 1991, Steven R. Mansfield, review of Gramsci and the History of Dialectical Thought.
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, December, 1990, Michael Sharratt, review of The Galileo Affair, p. 689.
Theological Studies, March, 1990, Martin F. McCarthy, review of The Galileo Affair, p. 177; March, 2007, Annibale Fantoli, review of Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992, p. 188.