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Copernicus As Logician

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author focuses on the principal topics used by Copernicus to support his arguments. Plato's advice in Parmenides about how to treat hypotheses provided Copernicus with methodological guidelines that can be articulated and exemplified. The logical issues involved in his use of mathematics and astronomy to justify the instances where he proposes mathematical grounds for arriving at conclusions in natural philosophy have been discussed. The views of Luther and Osiander about the liberal arts have been considered. Finally, the author examines the logical issues in the reconstruction of Copernicus's "discovery" of the heliocentric theory and follows the problems that he identified in the theories of his predecessors. His critique led him to propose the Sun's stability and Earth's motions as the solutions to the problems that prevented his predecessors from accounting for the observations on the assumption that the celestial bodies move uniformly in circles.

Keywords: argument; astronomy; Copernicus; heliocentric theory; logician; mathematics; universe



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