The Emergence of Kepler's Copernican Representation

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:
The Emergence of Kepler's Copernican Representation

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At the end of the 1580s, Nicolaus Copernicus's theory was one alternative amid a proliferating field of representations of celestial order. Copernicus's proponents were distributed among different networks—and also largely separated by them. Yet the Wittenberg interpretation had made certain parts of Copernicus's work both familiar and credible. References to Copernican parameters in academic textbooks were common from the 1550s onward. Heavenly practitioners of all stripes were using Erasmus Reinhold's Copernican planetary tables. Copernican planetary modeling practices had made serious inroads among a small group of unusually capable students of De Revolutionibus. This chapter examines Johannes Kepler's formation as an active adherent of Copernicus's central theory. First, it describes the Copernican situation at the end of the 1580s, and then looks at Kepler's Copernican formation at Tübingen between 1590 and 1594. It also discusses Kepler's shift in the astronomer's role, his physical-astrological problematic and encounter with Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, prognosticating (and theorizing) in Graz, Copernican cosmography and prognostication, Kepler's polyhedral hypothesis, and his logical and astronomical defense of Copernicus.

Keywords: Nicolaus Copernicus; Johannes Kepler; Tübingen; Graz; Giovanni Pico della Mirandola; cosmography; prognostication; polyhedral hypothesis; celestial order; De Revolutionibus

Chapter.  16705 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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