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Copernicus Praefatio In Libros Revolutionum Humanism And Scholarly Debate

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author proposes to analyse Copernicus' strategy in the Praefatio to present his work as a contribution to scientific debate, not a provocation against the authority of the Church. First, he stresses that his work, although it goes against the received opinion of astronomers (contra receptam opinionem mathematicorum, line 45) and practically against the general feeling (propemodum contra communem sensum, lines 4546), in fact contributes to a scholarly discussion about a topic which is not yet settled, and therefore a topic about which scholars are permitted to have a debate (lines 87-92). This section is a brief but complete statement of the scientific method followed by Copernicus. This work, published in 1518, caused a polemic between Erasmus and the conservative theologians which lasted until 1532.

Keywords:Copernicus Praefatio; DEBATE; Erasmus; humanism; libros; revolutionum

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