Celestial Motions in the Late Middle Ages

in Early Science and Medicine
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Abstract

With the introduction of Greco-Islamic science and natural philosophy, medieval natural philosophers were confronted with three distinct astronomical systems: Aristotelian, Ptolemaic, and the system of al-Bitruji. A fundamental problem that each had to confront was how to explain simultaneous contrary motions in the heavens -for example, the sun's motion, which moves east to west with a daily motion while simultaneously moving west to east along the ecliptic- within an Aristotelian physical system that assumed that a simple body could have only one proper motion. How medieval natural philosophers resolved this problem is the focus of the article.

Celestial Motions in the Late Middle Ages

in Early Science and Medicine

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