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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The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe

Kepler was one of the greats. An extraordinary history of humanity’s changing vision of the universe. And it is full of the best of stuff. He describes the past as evolution of thought modeled on Darwin’s biological theory.

The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler |

If you forgive me, I shall rejoice. Koestler’s influential view of Kepler as an intuitive, effusive mystic “sleepwalking” his way toward universal truths isn’t the standard view of modern Kepler scholars and may be based on a naive reading of the Astronomia Nova that ignores Kepler’s rhetorical framing of his discoveries, as well as the discrepancies between Kepler’s style in his published books and his often ironic and practical personal correspondence.

About Arthur Koestler Arthur Koestler — was an extraordinary polymath, writer, and political polemicist.

An excellent in depth story about the development of astronomy and the people who made the measurements and interpreted the results.

Also regarding the future, he felt that man was at the crossroads in which he would either destroy himself atomically or take off for the stars. THIS book, Ghe do get. In retrospect it seems like a fascinating subject.

The book ends with a modern epilogue which briefly details the state of science and religion today. Slowly, though, science and religion grew apart coming to a climax with the trial of Galileo and the heliocentric debate. Anaximander’s vision of the Earth? The Harmony of the Spheres 3.


Views Read Edit View history. Jul 26, Arwen rated it ioestler was amazing Recommends it for: WE get, for example, over 20 pages describing the hand-off of Copurnicus’ manuscript ‘Book of Revolutions’ to his protege Rheticus, and another 10 or so on getting the damn thing printed Without this background, the holders of these views sound like deluded idiots.

And quoting from Encyclopedia Britannica is no way to earn accolades from critical historians. After nearly dense pages on the various non-entities surrounding Copernicus, a man who seems to have spent most of his life avoiding real work and contributed nothing really new by the way of astronomy or scientific thought, one wonders what exactly motivated Koestler to write this book.


In early times these two fields were unified with an identical goal which sleepwaklers to explore God’s creation. I loved spending time with Koestler’s strange and vigorous mind. Definitely surpassing much then and now current work in broadly accessible history of science writing, Koestler had quite a good grasp of the literature.

Arrow in the Blue together with The Invisible Writing are kind of autobiography of first 35 years of Koestler’s life. The five parts of this book interested me to varying degrees. Arthur Koestler combines impressive scholarship and beautiful prose with a generous helping of metaphysical and psychological insight to present a captivating retelling of ‘our changing vision of the universe.

He is truly one of the greatest authors of the 20th century.

Arthur Koestler – The Sleepwalkers – A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe

He suggests that discoveries in science arise through a process akin to sleepwalking. A modern Catholic philosopher justifiably said that Augustine was “to a greater degree than any emperor or barbarian war lord, a maker of history and a builder of the bridge tje was to lead from the old world to the new.


It took a while for people to notice Copernicus’s work, but when they did the effect was dramatic.

Kepler’s cheerful and unflagging efforts – in selepwalkers face of poverty, disease, betrayal, stubbornness, blind alleys, mistakes, and tragedy – to establish a logical and mathematical basis for srthur planet’s enigmatic orbits; his capacity for both sarcastic antagonization and affectionate loyalty in his dealings with others; his creative and virile genius in doing much of the leg work necessary for Galileo’s success; in short, his so very human failings and virtues make his story the epitomy of the creative potential of the inspired human spirit.

Koestler presents a nice and detailed overview of how man’s view on the cosmos changed from gods to a scientific approach though that one came quite late. 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. The third and final ghe of the book is concerned with the psychological aspects of the contributors to sleepwzlkers history of cosmology.

But the most surprising part was the chapter on Galileo, which differed from the familiar account to such a large extent that I could hardly believe my eyes. 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. Koestller 27, Alan Clark rated it really liked it.

Jun 28, Mario Lbautista rated it liked it.