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Skeptical and Natural Philosophy

The Scientific Revolution

Was Copernicus’ new theory purely scientific?

No, because there was considerable mysticism in his astronomical ideas. Consider these two passages from his De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium Libri IV.

Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the center of the Universe. All this is suggested by the systematic procession of events and the harmony of the whole Universe, if only we face the facts, as they say, “with both eyes open”.

And:

At rest, however, in the middle of everything is the Sun. For, in this most beautiful temple, who would place this lamp in another or better position than that from which it can light up the whole thing at the same time? For, the Sun is not inappropriately called by some people the lantern of the universe, its mind by others, and its ruler by still others. The Thrice Greatest labels it a visible god, and Sophocles’ Electra, the all-seeing. Thus indeed, as though seated on a royal throne, the sun governs the family of planets revolving around it.



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