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5 A Ship-Like Earth: Reconceptualizing Motion

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers a reassessment, focusing on the Renaissance discussions before Galileo. The close connection between cosmological and physical arguments for geocentricism and against terrestrial motion had been established by Aristotle and reinforced by Ptolemy. Copernicus revises the theory of natural and violent motions. The Earth, as the realm of change, cannot be deprived of local motion. The heavens, being the realm of perfection, shall be stable and unchangeable. The image of the Earth as a ship had been employed by Parisian nominalists and was picked up by Calcagnini and Copernicus. Many ideas in the "Disputationes de quibusdam placitis Aristotelis" are close to those of De revolutionibus. Benedetti insisted that his theory could be connected to the Copernican theory and attempted it in the Diversae speculationes, which exerted a marked influence on Galileo. Copernicus and Calcagnini were aware of the intrinsic physical problem in the theory of terrestrial motion.

Keywords: Aristotle; Benedetti; Calcagnini; Copernicus; De revolutionibus; Earth; Galileo; Ptolemy; Renaissance; terrestrial motion



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