Chapter

The Second-Generation Copernicans

Robert S. Westman

in The Copernican Question

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780520254817
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948167 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520254817.003.0010
The Second-Generation Copernicans

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The generation informed by the Wittenberg consensus, born largely in the 1540s, was the cohort that, by the 1570s—and most dramatically in the 1580s—began actively to engage the full text of De Revolutionibus. Thomas Kuhn cautioned that the effects of Nicolaus Copernicus's work were “revolution-making” and that earlier writers, unconcerned with revolution as the governing trope, simply designated as “gradual.” The second generation after Copernicus was an activist generation that no longer read De Revolutionibus solely as a tool of astrological prognostication but now took the text seriously as a resource for theorizing about planetary order and planetary models. Although their divergences were not extreme, Michael Maestlin and Thomas Digges were entirely typical of differences among practitioners who regarded themselves as adherents of Copernicus's central ordering claims. This chapter discusses Maestlin's hesitations about astrology and his glosses on Copernicus, as well as Digges's infinite universe “augmentation” in Leonard Digges's prognostication.

Keywords: Michael Maestlin; Nicolaus Copernicus; astrology; Thomas Digges; infinite universe; augmentation; Leonard Digges; prognostication; De Revolutionibus

Chapter.  14172 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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