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Christoph Rothmann's Discourse on the Comet of 1585

An Edition and Translation with Accompanying Essays

Series:

Miguel A. Granada, Adam Mosley and Nicholas Jardine

Christoph Rothmann wrote a treatise on the comet of 1585 shortly after it disappeared. Though it was not printed until 1619, Rothman sent a copy of his treatise in 1586 to Tycho Brahe, decisively influencing the latter's rejection of solid celestial spheres two years later. In his treatise, Rothmann joined the elimination of the solid celestial spheres to his concept of air as the substance filling the cosmos. He based his argument on the absence of refraction and the celestial location of the comet. The treatise also contained clear statements reflecting Rothmann’s adoption of Copernicanism. This first critical edition of the treatise is accompanied by an English translation and a thorough commentary. Some appendices with archival documents illustrate the genesis of Rothmann’s treatise.

imagining the unimaginable

The Poetics of Early Modern Astronomy

Series:

Ladina Bezzola Lambert

How is it possible to imagine what is unknown and therefore unimaginable? How can the unimaginable be represented? On what materials do such representations rely? These questions lie at the heart of this book.
Copernican theory redefined the role and importance of the imagination even as it implied the moment of its crisis. Based on this claim, Ladina Bezzola Lambert analyzes seventeenth-century astronomical texts – particularly descriptions of the moon and treatises written in support of the theory of the plurality of worlds – to show how early modern astronomers questioned the role of the imagination as a tool to visualize the unknown, but also how, pressed by the need to support their theories with convincing descriptions of other potential worlds, they sought to overcome the limitations of the imagination with a sophisticated rhetoric and techniques more commonly associated with poetic writing. The limitations of the imagination are at once a problem that all of the texts discussed struggle with and their recurrent theme.
In the first and last chapter, the focus shifts to a more explicitly literary context: Ariosto’s Orlando furioso and the work of Italo Calvino. The change of focus from science to literature and from the narratives of the past to contemporary ones serves to emphasize that the issues relating to the imagination, its limitations and creative means, are basically the same both in science and literature and that they are still relevant today.

On the Distances between Sun, Moon, and Earth

According to Ptolemy, Copernicus and Reinhold

Series:

Henderson

The Prutenic Tables of Erasmus Reinhold, published in 1551, were the first set of astronomical tables to use the Copernican model of the solar system. Reinhold left a detailed account of his derivation of the parameters used in these tables in his "Commentarius in opus Revolutionum Copernici". The present work is based on an analysis of this unpublished manuscript, which was rediscovered early in this century.
In particular, this work analyses the geocentric distances of the sun and moon as found in Ptolemy's Almagest, in both the manuscript version and the Nuremberg edition of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus, in Reinhold's commentary on the Almagest, and in Reinhold's commentary on this section of De Revolutionibus. Chapter one contains a detailed analysis of the lunar distance, and chapter two concerns the apparent diameters of the sun, moon and shadow. The Ptolemaic method, which is the model for Copernicus and Reinhold, requires the determination of these quantities as a preliminary to the calculation of the solar distance, which is treated in chapter three. The fourth chapter is a brief analysis of the relative magnitudes of the sun, moon and earth, which Ptolemy, Copernicus and Reinhold discuss after they have reached values of the lunar and solar distances. The final chapter concerns an application of the distances - the solar and lunar parallaxes and diameters.

Remapping Reality

Chaos and Creativity in Science and Literature (Goethe – Nietzsche – Grass)

Series:

John A. McCarthy

This book is about intersections among science, philosophy, and literature. It bridges the gap between the traditional “cultures” of science and the humanities by constituting an area of interaction that some have called a “third culture.” By asking questions about three disciplines rather than about just two, as is customary in research, this inquiry breaks new ground and resists easy categorization. It seeks to answer the following questions: What impact has the remapping of reality in scientific terms since the Copernican Revolution through thermodynamics, relativity theory, and quantum mechanics had on the way writers and thinkers conceptualized the place of human culture within the total economy of existence? What influence, on the other hand, have writers and philosophers had on the doing of science and on scientific paradigms of the world? Thirdly, where does humankind fit into the total picture with its uniquely moral nature? In other words, rather than privileging one discipline over another, this study seeks to uncover a common ground for science, ethics, and literary creativity.
Throughout this inquiry certain nodal points emerge to bond the argument cogently together and create new meaning. These anchor points are the notion of movement inherent in all forms of existence, the changing concepts of evil in the altered spaces of reality, and the creative impulse critical to the literary work of art as well as to the expanding universe. This ambitious undertaking is unified through its use of phenomena typical of chaos and complexity theory as so many leitmotifs. While they first emerged to explain natural phenomena at the quantum and cosmic levels, chaos and complexity are equally apt for explaining moral and aesthetic events. Hence, the title “Remapping Reality” extends to the reconfigurations of the three main spheres of human interaction: the physical, the ethical, and the aesthetic or creative.

Encyclopedia of Early Modern History, volume 3

(Classical Economics - Cyclicality)

Series:

Edited by Graeme Dunphy

The Encyclopedia of Early Modern History offers 400 years of early modern history in one work. Experts from all over the world have joined in a presentation of the scholarship on the great era between the mid-15th to the mid-19th centuries. The perspective is European. That does not mean, however, that the view on the rest of the world is blocked. On the contrary: the multifaceted interrelatedness of European and other cultures is scrutinized extensively.

The Encyclopedia of Early Modern History addresses major historical questions:
- which ideas, inventions, and events changed people’s lives?
- in which ways did living conditions change?
- how do political, social, and economic developments interlock?
- which major cultural currents have begun to become apparent?
- how did historical interpretation of certain phenomena change?
The individual articles are connected to one another as in a web of red threads. The reader who follows the threads will keep coming upon new
and unexpected contexts and links.

The Limits of Influence

Pico, Louvain, and the Crisis of Renaissance Astrology

Series:

Steven Broecke, vanden

Historians of science often acknowledge the academic status of astrology in the early modern period, but mostly fail to explore its relation with other disciplines and its role in society. This book seeks to fill that gap.
The first part of the book examines the practices and functions that shaped late medieval astrology, and relates how its academic status became discredited, both in northern Italy and the Low Countries. The second part of the book examines various counter-strategies of astrological reform, and shows how these ultimately failed to restore public trust in academic astrology.
This book provides a new level of detail to the history of astrology. It also establishes important new links with other fields, like the history of universities, humanism, astronomy, medicine, and instrument building.

Series:

Michiel Elst

This book traces the impact of the economic and political perestroika on the copyright law of the late USSR and the Russian Federation. The transformation of the administrative command economy into a market economy, the introduction of the rule of law and the adoption of a natural-law-view on human rights, the revolution in cultural policy, all influenced both the contents and the function of copyright law for the authors, entertainment and information industries and the consumers. The book provides a detailed analysis of the freedom of expression, and of copyright legislation in Russia, always with an eye on historic comparisons and evolutions . At the same time it gives a synthetic overview of the main changes in constitutional, civil and economic law in the last 15 years.

Copernicus in the Cultural Debates of the Renaissance

Reception, Legacy, Transformation

Series:

Pietro Daniel Omodeo

In Copernicus in the Cultural Debates of the Renaissance, Pietro Daniel Omodeo presents a general overview of the reception of Copernicus’s astronomical proposal from the years immediately preceding the publication of De revolutionibus (1543) to the Roman prohibition of heliocentric hypotheses in 1616. Relying on a detailed investigation of early modern sources, the author systematically examines a series of issues ranging from computation to epistemology, natural philosophy, theology and ethics. In addition to offering a pluralistic and interdisciplinary perspective on post-Copernican astronomy, the study goes beyond purely cosmological and geometrical issues and engages in a wide-ranging discussion of how Copernicus’s legacy interacted with European culture and how his image and theories evolved as a result.     

Duncan Liddel (1561-1613)

Networks of Polymathy and the Northern European Renaissance

Series:

Edited by Pietro Daniel Omodeo

This collective volume in the history of early-modern science and medicine investigates the transfer of knowledge between Germany and Scotland focusing on the Scottish mathematician and physician Duncan Liddel of Aberdeen. It offers a contextualized study of his life and work in the cultural and institutional frame of the northern European Renaissance, as well as a reconstruction of his scholarly networks and of the scientific debates in the time of post-Copernican astronomy, Melanchthonian humanism and Paracelsian controversies.

Contributors are: Sabine Bertram, Duncan Cockburn, Laura Di Giammatteo, Mordechai Feingold, Karin Friedrich, Elizabeth Harding, John Henry, Richard Kirwan, Jane Pirie, Jonathan Regier.

The Lynx and the Telescope

The Parallel Worlds of Cesi and Galileo

Series:

Paolo Galluzzi

Set in the context of Counter-Reformation Rome, this book focuses on the twenty-year long relationship (1611-1630) between Galileo Galilei and Federico Cesi, the founder of the Academy of the Lynx-eyed. Contrary to the historiographical tradition, it demonstrates that the visions of Galileo and Cesi were not at all convergent. In the course of the events that led to the adoption of the anti-Copernican decree of 1616, Galileo realized that the Lynceans were not prepared to support his battle for freedom of thought. In addition to identifying the author of the anonymous denunciation of Galileo’s Assayer, Paolo Galluzzi offers an original reconstruction of the dynamics which culminated in the Church’s condemnation of the famous Tuscan scientist in 1633.

This book was originally published in Italian as Libertà di filosofare in naturalibus: I mondi paralleli di Cesi e Galileo (Storia dell’Accademia dei Lincei, Studi 4). Rome: Scienze e Lettere, Editore Commerciale, 2014.