Show Less
Restricted access

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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter VII. The Postulate of Uniform Circular Motion of Celestial Spheres and Celestial Phenomena


← 126 | 127 → CHAPTER SEVEN


Copernicus’ terrestrial globe, ready to be launched on its planetary voyage, will perform its voyage pursuant to predetermined rules. When Copernicus elevates it to a position of a planet, the earth is able to move in the same way as other celestial bodies, that is, in uniform circular motion. Celestial motion is, also in Copernicus’ view, “uniform and circular, perpetuous, or compounded of several circular motions.”19

Circularity. In the Commentariolus, Copernicus derives the postulate of uniform circular celestial motion from the form or shape of a celestial body.20 He does the same in Chapter 4 of Book I of De revolutionibus by linking uniform circular motion to the sphere and its shape, which carries individual celestial bodies:

I shall now recall that the motion of the heavenly bodies is circular, since the motion appropriate to a Sphere is rotation in a circle. By this very act the sphere expresses its form in the simplest body, where neither beginning nor ← 127 | 128 → end can be found, nor can the one be distinguished from the other, while itself traverses the same points to return upon itself.21

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.