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Copernicus: Platonist Astronomer-Philosopher

Cosmic Order, the Movement of the Earth, and the Scientific Revolution

Matjaz Vesel

In 1543, Copernicus publicly defended geokinetic and heliocentric universe. This book examines why and how he became a Copernican and what his affirmation of heliocentrism means in the context of the Scientific Revolution. Close reading of Copernicus’ texts and examination of his sociocultural context reveals his commitment to the Platonist program of True Astronomy, which is to discover the well-proportioned, harmonious universe, hidden beyond visible appearances, but accessible through mathematical reasoning. The principal goal of the work is to show that the hypothesis of Copernicus’ Platonism brings unity and internal coherence to his project and provides historical background of his contributions to the Scientific Revolution.
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List of Figures


Figure 1. The homocentric model

Figure 2. The eccentric model

Figure 3a. The epicycle model

Figure 3b. The path of a planet in the epicycle model

Figure 4. The equant model

Figure 5. Ptolemy’s model for Saturn from the Planetary Hypotheses

Figure 6. Ibn al-Haytham’s model for Venus and the superior planets

Figure 7. Geometric and physical model for the earth’s path between the spheres of Venus and Mars

Figure 8. The Ptolemaic universe according to Johannes Kepler, Mysterium cosmographicum

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