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Copernicus's Reading And Progress Towards His First Heliocentric Theory

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Chapter Summary

The author deals with important questions about Copernicus's acquaintance with the works of Plato, Regiomontanus and his circle, above all Cardinal Bessarion, Ficino, and other sources on which we know Copernicus relied for his discovery of the heliocentric cosmology and his first version of the theory. Also, the author attempts to clarify why Copernicus bound his heliocentric cosmology so inseparably and obdurately to the perfection of circles and spheres. Much of Copernicus's library and the books available to him at Lidzbark and later at Frombork, have been examined. The author concludes that Copernicus acquired and developed the philosophical assumptions and techniques that he deployed for the remainder of his life in reforming ancient astronomy by 1510. His education and the books allowed him to formulate the fundamental assumptions and conclusions that he had reached by qualitatively astronomical and mathematical analysis that led him to the heliocentric and geokinetic hypotheses.

Keywords: astronomy; Copernicus; Frombork; heliocentric theory; Lidzbark; philosophy



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