The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order

The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order

By: Robert S. Westman (author)Hardback

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In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus publicly defended his hypothesis that the earth is a planet and the sun a body resting near the center of a finite universe. But why did Copernicus make this bold proposal? And why did it matter? "The Copernican Question" reframes this pivotal moment in the history of science, centering the story on a conflict over the credibility of astrology that erupted in Italy just as Copernicus arrived in 1496. Copernicus engendered enormous resistance when he sought to protect astrology by reconstituting its astronomical foundations. Robert S. Westman shows that efforts to answer the astrological skeptics became a crucial unifying theme of the early modern scientific movement. His interpretation of this 'long sixteenth century', from the 1490s to the 1610s, offers a new framework for understanding the great transformations in natural philosophy in the century that followed.

About Author

Robert S. Westman is Professor of History and Director of the Science Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego.


List of Figures List of Tables Preface and Acknowledgments Introduction The Historical Problematic Summary and Plan of This Work Categories of Description and Explanation Part I. Copernicus's Space of Possibilities 1. The Literature of the Heavens and the Science of the Stars Printing, Planetary Theory, and the Genres of Forecast Copernicus's Exceptionalism Practices of Classifying Heavenly Knowledge and Knowledge Makers The Science of the Stars The Career of the Theorica/Practica Distinction Theoretical Astrology: From the Arabic to the Reformed, Humanist Tetrabiblos The Order of the Planets and Copernicus's Early Formation Copernicus's Problematic: The Unresolved Issues 2. Constructing the Future The Annual Prognostication The Popular Verse Prophecies Sites of Prognostication 3. Copernicus and the Crisis of the Bologna Prognosticators, 1496--1500 The Bologna Period, 1496--1500: An Undisturbed View From the Krakow Collegium Maius to the Bologna Studium Generale Bologna and the "Horrible Wars of Italy" The Astrologers' War Pico against the Astrologers Domenico Maria Novara and Copernicus in the Bologna Culture of Prognostication Prognosticators, Humanists, and the Sedici Copernicus, Assistant and Witness The Averroists and the Order of Mercury and Venus Copernicus's Commentariolus or, Perhaps, the Theoric of Seven Postulates Copernicus, Pico, and De Revolutionibus Part II. Confessional and Interconfessional Spaces of Prophecy and Prognostication 4. Between Wittenberg and Rome: The New System, Astrology, and the End of the World Introduction Melanchthon, Pico, and Naturalistic Divination Rheticus's Narratio Prima in the Wittenberg-Nuremberg Cultural Orbit World-Historical Prophecy and Celestial Revolutions Celestial Order and Necessity Necessity in the Consequent The Astronomy without Equants Principles versus Tables without Demonstrations The Publication of De Revolutionibus: Osiander's "Ad Lectorem" Holy Scripture and Celestial Order De Revolutionibus: Title and Prefatory Material The "Principal Consideration" 5. The Wittenberg Interpretation of Copernicus's Theory Melanchthon and the Science of the Stars at Wittenberg The Melanchthon Circle, Rheticus, and Albertine Patronage Rheticus, Melanchthon, and Copernicus: A Psychodynamic Hypothesis Erasmus Reinhold, Albrecht, and the Formation of the Wittenberg Interpretation The Prutenic Tables, Patronage, and the Organization of Heavenly Literature The Consolidation of the Wittenberg Interpretation The Advanced Curriculum at Wittenberg Germany as the "Nursery of Mathematics" Conclusion 6. Varieties of Astrological Credibility Marking the Dangers of Human Foreknowledge Becoming a Successful Prognosticator Multiplying Genitures From Wittenberg to Louvain: Astrological Credibility and the Copernican Question John Dee and Louvain: Toward an Optical Reformation of Astrology Jofrancus Offusius's Semi-Ptolemaic Solution to the Variation in Astral Powers Skirting the Margins of Dangerous Divination 7. Foreknowledge, Skepticism, and Celestial Order in Rome De Revolutionibus at the Papal Court: A Stillborn (Negative) Reaction The Holy Index and the Science of the Stars Making Orthodoxy: Learned Advice from Trent Astrology, Astronomy, and the Certitude of Mathematics in Post-Tridentine Heavenly Science The Jesuits' "Way of Proceeding": The Teaching Ministry, the Middle Sciences, Astrology, and Celestial Order Clavius on the Order of the Planets Disciplinary Tensions Astronomy in a Hexameral Genre: Robert Bellarmine Part III. Accommodating Unanticipated, Singular Novelties 8. Planetary Order, Astronomical Reform, and the Extraordinary Course of Nature Astronomical Reform and the Interpretation of Celestial Signs The New Piconians Mistrusting Numbers The Rise of the Theoretical Astronomer and the "Science" of the New Star of 1572 The Generic Location of the New Star Court Spaces and Networks: Uraniborg, Hapsburg Vienna and Prague Hagecius's Polemic on the New Star An Emergent Role for a Noble Astronomer: Tycho Brahe and the Copenhagen Oration Tycho and Pico, Generic and Named Adversaries The Tychonian Problematic, 1574 A Tychonic Solution to Pico's Criticism? Naibod's Circumsolar Ordering of Mercury and Venus The Comet of 1577 and Its Discursive Space Astrological and Eschatological Meanings of Comets The Language, Syntax, and Credibility of Cometary Observation Place and Order, the Comet and the Cosmos: Gemma, Roeslin, Maestlin, and Brahe Conclusion 9. The Second-Generation Copernicans: Maestlin and Digges Michael Maestlin (1550--1631): Pastor, Academic, Mathematicus, Copernican Maestlin's Hesitations about Astrology The Practice of Theorizing: Maestlin's Glosses on Copernicus Thomas Digges: Gentleman, Mathematical Practitioner, Platonist, Copernican Digges on Copernicus in Wings or Ladders (Re)Classifying the Star The Mathematicians' Court Reorganizing Copernicus Thomas Digges's Infinite Universe "Augmentation" in Leonard Digges's Prognostication Euerlastinge The Plummet Passage Conclusion 10. A Proliferation of Readings The Emergence of a Via Media Along the Via Media: Tycho's Progress Negotiating the Spheres' Ontology Rothmann's Transformation and the First Copernican Controversy Giordano Bruno: "Academico di nulla Academia detto il Fastidito" Bruno's Visual, Pythagorean Reading of Copernicus Bruno and the Science of the Stars Part IV. Securing the Divine Plan 11. The Emergence of Kepler's Copernican Representation The Copernican Situation at the End of the 1580s Counterfactual Kepler Kepler's Copernican Formation at Tubingen, 1590--1594 Kepler's Shift in the Astronomer's Role Kepler's Physical-Astrological Problematic and Pico Dating Kepler's Encounter with Pico: A Tubingen Scenario? The Gold Nugget Prognosticating (and Theorizing) in Graz Kepler's Copernican Cosmography and Prognostication The Divine Plan, Archetypal Causes, and the Beginning of the World From Kepler's Polyhedral Hypothesis to the Logical and Astronomical Defense of Copernicus 12. Kepler's Early Audiences, 1596--1600 The Mysterium Cosmographicum: The Space of Reception The Tubingen Theologians and the Duke The German Academic Mathematicians: Limnaeus and Praetorius Kepler's Mysterium and the Via Media Group Part V. Conflicted Modernizers at the Turn of the Century 13. The Third-Generation Copernicans: Galileo and Kepler Galileo and the Science of the Stars in the Pisan Period Galileo and the Wittenberg and Uraniborg-Kassel Networks Galileo on Copernicus: The Exchange with Mazzoni Galileo and Kepler: The 1597 Exchange Galileo as a "Maestlinian" Paduan Sociabilities: The Pinelli Circle and the Edmund Bruce Episode, 1599--1605 1600: Bruno's Execution 1600: William Gilbert's Project for a Magnetical Philosophy The Quarrel among the Modernizers: New Convergences at the Fin de Siecle Galileo's Silence about Bruno Galileo's First Run-In with the Inquisition The Copernican Problematic and Astrological Theorizing after Bruno's Trial Kepler's Continuing Search for Astrology's Foundations 14. The Naturalist Turn and Celestial Order: Constructing the Nova of 1604 The Predicted Conjunction of the Three Superior Planets and the Unforeseen Nova of 1604 Galileo and the Italian Nova Controversies Honor and Credibility in the Capra Controversy Galileo and Kepler's Nova Celestial Natural Philosophy in a New Key: Kepler's De Stella Nova and the Modernizers The Possibility of a Reformed Astrological Theoric: Kepler for and against Pico (Again) The Copernican Question in the Stella Nova: Kepler for Gilbert, against Tycho Making Room: Kepler between Wacker von Wackenfels and Tycho Brahe Generating the Nova: Divine Action and Material Necessity Summary and Conclusion 15. How Kepler's New Star Traveled to England Kepler's Star over Germany and Italy Kepler's English Campaign Part VI. The Modernizers, Recurrent Novelties, and Celestial Order 16. The Struggle for Order The Emergent Problematic of the Via Moderna Many Roads for the Modernizers: The Social Disunity of Copernican Natural Philosophy Along the Via Moderna Conclusion 17. Modernizing Theoretical Knowledge: Patronage, Reputation, Learned Sociability, Gentlemanly Veracity Theoretical Knowledge and Scholarly Reputation Patron-Centered Heavenly Knowledge Patronage at the Periphery: Galileo and the Aristocratic Sphere of Learned Sociability Florentine Court Sociabilities Galileo's Decision to Leave Padua for Florence Stabilizing the Telescopic Novelties Conclusion: Gentlemanly Truth Tellers? 18. How Galileo's Recurrent Novelties Traveled The Sidereus Nuncius, the Nova Controversies, and Galileo's "Copernican Silence" Through a Macro Lens: The Reception of the Sidereus Nuncius and the Telescope, Mid-March to Early May 1610 Kepler's Philosophical Conversation with Galileo and His Book Galileo's Negotiations with the Tuscan Court, May 1610 Virtual Witnessing, Print, and the Great Resistance Magini's Strategic Retreat and the 7/11 Problem Galileo and Kepler: The Denouement Scottish Scientific Diplomacy: John Wedderburn's Confutatio Galileo's Novelties and the Jesuits Conclusion. The Great Controversy Astrological Prognostication and Astronomical Revolution Copernicans and Master-Disciple Relations Seventeenth-Century Thoughts about Belief Change The End of the Long Sixteenth Century The Era of Consolidation: World Systems and Comparative Probability From Philosophizing Astrologers to New-Style Natural Philosophers Weighing Probables: The Via Moderna versus the Via Media at Midcentury The Copernican Question after Midcentury Robert Hooke, Isaac Newton, and the Crucial Experiment The Copernican Question: Closure and Proof Notes Bibliography Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780520254817
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 704
  • ID: 9780520254817
  • weight: 1451
  • ISBN10: 0520254813

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