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4 A Finite and Infinite Sphere: Reinventing Cosmological Space

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Chapter Summary

This chapter tackles the issue of the dimensions of the universe and cosmological infinity from the perspective of the reception of De revolutionibus. It clarifies the connection between Copernican astronomy and the debate on cosmological space. Benedetti refers to the heavens as a sphere encompassed by an infinite space. According to Pegel, the "place" of the Earth cannot be determined with precision. From a Copernican perspective, the Sun would cover "only" 48 miles per minute and Saturn 24, whereas the heavens would be stationary. All bodies have perceptions and are constantly in motion. Bruno connected heliocentrism and the infinity of space with the principle of universal homogeneity. Kepler tried to keep heliocentrism and infinitism separated and not to intermix Pythagoreanism and atomism. De revolutionibus could be interpreted from an infinitist point of view or a finitist one enriched by Pythagorean, Cusanian, atomist or Stoic elements.

Keywords: Benedetti; Bruno; cosmological space; De revolutionibus; infinite sphere; Kepler; Pegel; pythagoreanism



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