The cosmology of Johannes Kepler remains a mystery. On the one hand, Kepler's speculations on spiritual faculties are seen as the remnants of Renaissance philosophy. On the other, his comparison of the cosmos to a clock summons the mechanical metaphor that shaped modern science. This book explores the inseparable connections between Kepler's vitalistic views and his more enduring accomplishments in astronomy. The key argument is that Kepler's `celestial biology' served as a bridge between his revolutionary astronomy and other `less scientific' interests, particularly astrology.
Kepler's Cosmological Synthesis sheds new light on one of the foundational figures of the Scientific Revolution. By uncovering a new form of coherence in Kepler's world picture, it traces the unlikely intersections of mechanism and vitalism that transformed the fabric of the heavens.
n this important work, historian of science Patrick Boner ably argues against the view of Kepler as an early proponent of the mechanistic universe. The focus on mechanism makes it difficult to understand the place of astrology in Kepler's thought. Dr. Boner develops the concept of Kepler's "vitalistic universe," which describes heavenly bodies in biological terms. This concept becomes the means to integrate Kepler's astronomical and astrological thought.
Sheila J. Rabin, Saint Peter's College
Patrick J. Boner, Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science (2007), is a Visiting Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University. He has published extensively on the history of astrology and astronomy, including the edited volume, Change and Continuity in Early Modern Cosmology (Springer, 2011).
Acknowledgements List of Illustrations List of Abbreviations Introduction Chapter One. Kepler's Vitalistic View of the Heavens: Some Preliminary Remarks 1. Kepler's Clockwork Metaphor 2. Spiritual Agency in Kepler's Astrology 3. Threads of Continuity in Kepler's Cosmology Chapter Two. Kepler's Early Career in Astrology, 1594-1599 1. Not All Astrologers Created Equally: Kepler's Perception of His Practice 2. Conserving the Kernel: Kepler's Early Conception of the Astrological Aspects 3. From the Earth to Humanity: Further Effects of the Astrological Aspects 4. The Weight of Proof: Observational Evidence for the Astrological Aspects Chapter Three. The New Star of 1604 1. The Multiple Purposes of On the New Star 2. The Soul of the Earth: Instinctual Responses to the Astrological Aspects 3. Finding Middle Ground: The Soul of the Earth and the Surrounding Cosmos 4. Philosophical Marvel and Theological Miracle: The Many Meanings of the New Star Chapter Four. The Comets of 1607 and 1618 1. The Role of Divine Providence in Kepler's Cometary Theory 2. Clarifying Curvature and the Rectilinear Course of Comets 3. Celestial Sympathy and Earthly Knowledge of Comets Chapter Five. Kepler's Apology 1. Situating the Soul of the Earth: Elemental Instruments and their Animate Impetus 2. Configurations and Consonances: The Earthly Orchestra of the Astrological Aspects 3. Differences over Divinity: Kepler's Final Criticisms of Fludd Conclusion Bibliography Index of Persons Index of Places Index of Subjects