Aristotle, Science and Halakhah

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6 Responses

  1. CA says:

    >The numerous amoraim in this gemara, most clearly Rabbi Chuna’s second statement at the end of my quote, assume that when an object falls, it falls down to the ground it is directly over. Not as Newton showed, that a thrown object follows a trajectory, a parabola.

    I am sorry, can you explain how you derive this from the Gemara?

  2. micha says:

    “Rabbi Chuna said: Over there is a case where if it were to fall, the ground under it is private domain. Whereas over here if it were to fall, the ground under it was [already] public domain.”

    His assumption being that an object in motions still falls straight down, no?

    Remember also that this is a blog, and therefore a collection of posts appears with the chronologically last on top, even though the thought is developed by the author in the opposite order.

  3. CA says:

    Could it be that Rav Chuna is just asking about what airspace the object is in? The “if it were to fall” is just an imaginary way of determining that…

    Did people really believe that if I shoot an arrow, and then change my mind, the arrow will fall straight down?

  4. micha says:

    As per this post… people really thought that thrown objects “start to fall” and then fall straight down. And recent studies show that even people who catch for a living only compensate for this instinct and don’t fully overcome it. This is our instinct, how humans — even those who intellectually know better — actually relate to the world.

    There is no reason to believe Rav Chuna was talking about anything other than the natural philosophy of his day.

  5. CA says:

    An object flies from reshus ha’yochid to reshus ha’rabbim, and before it crosses the boundary, I remember it’s Shabbos — so, “Rabbi Chuna said: Over there is a case where if it were to fall, the ground under it is private domain…”. Why does he say, “if it were to fall”? Why would it fall? Is the assumption that if I stop desiring the object to keep moving, it will fall down immediately? But then the object doesn’t cross into reshus ha’rabbim, and there is no melacha…

    So, what’s the point in asking what would happen if the object fell? How is the object going to fall?

    To me, the pshat seems to be that Rav Chuna is asking where the object is — in reshus ha’rabbim or rh”y.

    You needed modern psychology to tell you how baseball players think. But my intuitive folk psychology tells me that they just catch the ball based on prediction of its trajectory, and if I look at the pictures of ball flying (or watch a baseball match), I see that it flies at an arch. So, why should I take a modern scientist’s word over my instincts about how other people think?

  6. CA says:

    It just seems that the phraseology “if the object were to fall” is much closer in its meaning to “if the object stopped in the air and fell” as opposed to “if the object started on its downward motion”. You can imagine the same lexicon in determining what the citizenship of a child born on an an airplane is: “If the plane were to land, which country would it land?” The assumption is not that when airplane lands, it drops straight down…

And your thoughts...?

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