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Diffusion Of Copernicanism In Japan

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Chapter Summary

Copernicus is, without doubt, primarily a first-rate professional astronomer. His thorough mathematical treatment in De revolutionibus from Book II on must have challenged his astronomical successors, such as Erasmus Reinhold and Tycho Brahe. This aspect of Copernicanism may be called 'astronomical Copernicanism' or 'mathematical and quantitative Copernicanism' if not to say 'observational Copernicanism'. On the popular level, Copernicus is, of course best known as a cosmologist. The basic tenet of 'cosmological Copernicanism' is obviously the heliostatic conception. Up to the early part of the eighteenth century, Japanese astronomy was still dominated by Chinese tradition. During the Jesuit century in Japan, some works of missionary origin conveyed an Aristotelian kind of cosmology. Copernicanism never played a pivotal role in overthrowing traditional ideologies or recognizing Western superiority. In this respect, recognition of Western superiority in the astronomical domain had been well established earlier through Sino-Jesuits works.

Keywords: astronomical copernicanism; Chinese tradition; Japanese astronomy; observational copernicanism; quantitative copernicanism; Sino-Jesuits works



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