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The Copernican question : prognostication, skepticism, and celestial order /
Robert S. Westman.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2011.
description
xviii, 681 p.
ISBN
0520254813 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780520254817 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2011.
isbn
0520254813 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780520254817 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
7783799
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 605-647) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Robert Westman's The Copernican Question is a magnificent achievement. It is a comprehensive, nuanced, and fascinating reinterpretation of the Copernican century and the transformation of astronomy. This book will be of interest to anyone who wants a new understanding of sun-centered history and the complex problems facing Copernicus and his contemporaries and followers." Carolyn Merchant, author of The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution
Flap Copy
"Westman's profound understanding of his subject informs every page of this magisterial book. The Copernican Question provides a new road map to one of the central episodes in the history of science, in all its cultural, social, and philosophical complexity." --Peter Dear, author of Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and Its Ambitions, 1500-1700 " The Copernican Question is a truly astonishing work. Westman writes with the authority of someone who has really done his homework; he tells a fascinating story and tells it exceedingly well." --Ernan McMullin, editor of The Church and Galileo "Robert Westman's engrossing book--the fruit of many years' research--offers the best answer given so far to the question of Copernicus. The Polish astronomer was an enigma to his contemporaries and to many who later struggled to understand his ideas. Westman shows that astrological prediction provides the missing key to his work and to its interpretation by astronomers in the subsequent decades. He sets the Copernican tradition against a backdrop of tumultuous religious conflict, apocalyptic prophecies, and the explosive growth of printed publications. This book is a magnificent scholarly achievement. Everyone who is seriously interested in the science and culture of early-modern Europe will want to read it." --Jan Golinski, author of British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment "Robert Westman's The Copernican Question is a magnificent achievement. It is a comprehensive, nuanced, and fascinating reinterpretation of the Copernican century and the transformation of astronomy. This book will be of interest to anyone who wants a new understanding of the history of the heliocentric hypothesis and the complex problems facing Copernicus and his contemporaries and followers." --Carolyn Merchant, author of The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution " The Copernican Question is a richly detailed, extensively researched, and engagingly written book that radically recontextualizes major figures in the "science of the stars" from Copernicus to Galileo, revealing new connections and motivations for their work and ideas. It will be required reading for historians and philosophers of science and for anyone interested in how and why we came to know what we do about the heavens." --Lawrence M. Principe, author of The Scientific Revolution: A Very Short Introduction
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-01-01:
Westman (history and science studies, Univ. of California, San Diego) takes readers back to the 15th century, showing the transformation of thought from mysticism and astrological predictions to the beginning of modern science, with the contributions of Galileo and Newton. The author explains that during the times when religious turmoil and end-of-the-world and astrological prophesies were the norm, the political, cultural, and religious segments of society dominated the scene. He explores the roles played by Rheticus, Bellarmine, Tycho, Maestlin, Digges, Bruno, and Kepler, laying the foundation for the post-Copernican era. This is a fascinating account of the evolution of humankind's thought from the mystical and astrological to modern science, where the ability to predict physical events supplanted old approaches. The success of accurate positional astronomy as a predictive tool upstaged astrology's methods (and failures). This is a scientific historian's history, reading more easily as a reference book than a chronology. The volume contains 85 figures, 7 tables, 90 pages of notes, a 43-page bibliography, and a 33-page index. It will have special appeal to the science historian interested in the evolution of thought as people discover their ability to describe the world more accurately than their predecessors. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. W. E. Howard III formerly, Universities Space Research Association
Reviews
Review Quotes
"[An] enormously erudite treatment."
"[An] enormously erudite treatment."-- Science (Aaas)
"A radically new approach to his subject."
"A radically new approach to his subject."-- Journal For the History of Astronomy
"A radically new approach to his subject."-- Jrnl For the History of Astronomy
"A rich, multifaceted work."
"A rich, multifaceted work."-- Renaissance Qtly
"Now, at long last, we have this vast (and beautifully produced and illustrated) book to hold in our hands."
"Now, at long last, we have this vast (and beautifully produced and illustrated) book to hold in our hands."-- Times Literary Supplement (Tls)
"This important workmassive, original, provocative, and potentially transformationalis the culmination of a lifetime's work."
"This important work--massive, original, provocative, and potentially transformational--is the culmination of a lifetime's work."-- Quest: History of Spaceflight
"This is a towering achievement . . . Westman is a gifted writer who knows how to maintain the interest of the reader who is not an expert in astronomy."
"This substantial book is magnificent in command of materials and in its clear presentation. . . . A wonderful book. . . . A good investment. "
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
In 1543, Copernicus defended his hypothesis that the Earth is a planet and the sun a body resting near the centre of a finite universe. This volume reframes this pivotal moment in the history of science, centring the story on a conflict over the credibility of astrology that erupted in Italy just as Copernicus arrived in 1496.
Main Description
In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus publicly defended his hypothesis that the earth is a planet and the sun a body resting near the center of a finite universe. But why did Copernicus make this bold proposal? And why did it matter? The Copernican Question reframes this pivotal moment in the history of science, centering the story on a conflict over the credibility of astrology that erupted in Italy just as Copernicus arrived in 1496. Copernicus engendered enormous resistance when he sought to protect astrology by reconstituting its astronomical foundations. Robert S. Westman shows that efforts to answer the astrological skeptics became a crucial unifying theme of the early modern scientific movement. His interpretation of this "long sixteenth century," from the 1490s to the 1610s, offers a new framework for understanding the great transformations in natural philosophy in the century that followed.
Main Description
In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus publicly defended his hypothesis that the earth is a planet and the sun a body resting near the center of a finite universe. But why did Copernicus make this bold proposal? And why did it matter?The Copernican Questionreframes this pivotal moment in the history of science, centering the story on a conflict over the credibility of astrology that erupted in Italy just as Copernicus arrived in 1496. Copernicus engendered enormous resistance when he sought to protect astrology by reconstituting its astronomical foundations. Robert S. Westman shows that efforts to answer the astrological skeptics became a crucial unifying theme of the early modern scientific movement. His interpretation of this "long sixteenth century," from the 1490s to the 1610s, offers a new framework for understanding the great transformations in natural philosophy in the century that followed.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Historical Problematic
Summary and Plan of This Work
Categories of Description and Explanation
Copernicus's Space of Possibilities
The Literature of the Heavens and the Science of the Stars
Printing, Planetary Theory, and the Genres of Forecast
Copernicus's Exceptionalism
Practices of Classifying Heavenly Knowledge and Knowledge Makers
The Science of the Stars
The Career of the Theorica/Practica Distinction
Theoretical Astrology: From the Arabic to the Reformed, Humanist Tetrabiblos
The Order of the Planets and Copernicus's Early Formation
Copernicus's Problematic: The Unresolved Issues
Constructing the Future
The Annual Prognostication
The Popular Verse Prophecies
Sites of Prognostication
Copernicus and the Crisis of the Bologna Prognosticators, 1496-1500
The Bologna Period, 1496-1500: An Undisturbed View
From the Krakow Collegium Maius to the Bologna Studium Generale
Bologna and the "Horrible Wars of Italy"
The Astrologers' War
Pico against the Astrologers
Domenico Maria Novara and Copernicus in the Bologna Culture of Prognostication
Prognosticators, Humanists, and the Sedici
Copernicus, Assistant and Witness
The Averroists and the Order of Mercury and Venus
Copernicus's Commentariolus or, Perhaps, the Theoric of Seven Postulates
Copernicus, Pico, and De Revolutionibus
Confessional and Interconfessional Spaces of Prophecy and Prognostication
Between Wittenberg and Rome: The New System, Astrology, and the End of the World
Introduction
Melanchthon, Pico, and Naturalistic Divination
Rheticus's Narratio Prima in the Wittenberg-Nuremberg Cultural Orbit
World-Historical Prophecy and Celestial Revolutions
Celestial Order and Necessity
Necessity in the Consequent
The Astronomy without Equants
Principles versus Tables without Demonstrations
The Publication of De Revolutionibus: Osiander's "Ad Lectorem"
Holy Scripture and Celestial Order
De Revolutionibus: Title and Prefatory Material
The "Principal Consideration"
The Wittenberg Interpretation of Copernicus's Theory
Melanchthon and the Science of the Stars at Wittenberg
The Melanchthon Circle, Rheticus, and Albertine Patronage
Rheticus, Melanchthon, and Copernicus: A Psychodynamic Hypothesis
Erasmus Reinhold, Albrecht, and the Formation of the Wittenberg Interpretation
The Prutenic Tables, Patronage, and the Organization of Heavenly Literature
The Consolidation of the Wittenberg Interpretation
The Advanced Curriculum at Wittenberg
Germany as the "Nursery of Mathematics"
Conclusion
Varieties of Astrological Credibility
Marking the Dangers of Human Foreknowledge
Becoming a Successful Prognosticator
Multiplying Genitures
From Wittenberg to Louvain: Astrological Credibility and the Copernican Question
John Dee and Louvain: Toward an Optical Reformation of Astrology
Jofrancus Offusius's Semi-Ptolemaic Solution to the Variation in Astral Powers
Skirting the Margins of Dangerous Divination
Foreknowledge, Skepticism, and Celestial Order in Rome
De Revolutionibus at the Papal Court: A Stillborn (Negative) Reaction
The Holy Index and the Science of the Stars
Making Orthodoxy: Learned Advice from Trent
Astrology, Astronomy, and the Certitude of Mathematics in Post-Tridentine Heavenly Science
The Jesuits' "Way of Proceeding": The Teaching Ministry, the Middle Sciences, Astrology, and Celestial Order
Clavius on the Order of the Planets
Disciplinary Tensions
Astronomy in a Hexameral Genre: Robert Bellarmine
Accommodating Unanticipated, Singular Novelties
Planetary Order, Astronomical Reform, and the Extraordinary Course of Nature
Astronomical Reform and the Interpretation of Celestial Signs
The New Piconians
Mistrusting Numbers
The Rise of the Theoretical Astronomer and the "Science" of the New Star of 1572
The Generic Location of the New Star
Court Spaces and Networks: Uraniborg, Hapsburg Vienna and Prague
Hagecius's Polemic on the New Star
An Emergent Role for a Noble Astronomer: Tycho Brahe and the Copenhagen Oration
Tycho and Pico, Generic and Named Adversaries
The Tychonian Problematic, 1574
A Tychonic Solution to Pico's Criticism? Naibod's Circumsolar Ordering of Mercury and Venus
The Comet of 1577 and Its Discursive Space
Astrological and Eschatological Meanings of Comets
The Language, Syntax, and Credibility of Cometary Observation
Place and Order, the Comet and the Cosmos: Gemma, Roeslin, Maestlin, and Brahe
Conclusion
The Second-Generation Copernicans: Maestlin and Digges
Michael Maestlin (1550-1631): Pastor, Academic, Mathematicus, Copernican
Maestlin's Hesitations about Astrology
The Practice of Theorizing: Maestlin's Glosses on Copernicus
Thomas Digges: Gentleman, Mathematical Practitioner, Platonist, Copernican
Digges on Copernicus in Wings or Ladders
(Re)Classifying the Star
The Mathematicians' Court
Reorganizing Copernicus
Thomas Digges's Infinite Universe "Augmentation" in Leonard Digges's Prognostication Euerlastinge
The Plummet Passage
Conclusion
A Proliferation of Readings
The Emergence of a Via Media
Along the Via Media: Tycho's Progress
Negotiating the Spheres' Ontology
Rothmann's Transformation and the First Copernican Controversy
Giordano Bruno: "Academico di nulla Academia detto il Fastidito"
Bruno's Visual, Pythagorean Reading of Copernicus
Bruno and the Science of the Stars
Securing the Divine Plan
The Emergence of Kepler's Copernican Representation
The Copernican Situation at the End of the 1580s
Counterfactual Kepler
Kepler's Copernican Formation at Tübingen, 1590-1594
Kepler's Shift in the Astronomer's Role
Kepler's Physical-Astrological Problematic and Pico
Dating Kepler's Encounter with Pico: A Tübingen Scenario?
The Gold Nugget
Prognosticating (and Theorizing) in Graz
Kepler's Copernican Cosmography and Prognostication
The Divine Plan, Archetypal Causes, and the Beginning of the World
From Kepler's Polyhedral Hypothesis to the Logical and Astronomical Defense of Copernicus
Kepler's Early Audiences, 1596-1600
The Mysterium Cosmographicum: The Space of Reception
The Tübingen Theologians and the Duke
The German Academic Mathematicians: Limnaeus and Praetorius
Kepler's Mysterium and the Via Media Group
Conflicted Modernizers at the Turn of the Century
The Third-Generation Copernicans: Galileo and Kepler
Galileo and the Science of the Stars in the Pisan Period
Galileo and the Wittenberg and Uraniborg-Kassel Networks
Galileo on Copernicus: The Exchange with Mazzoni
Galileo and Kepler: The 1597 Exchange
Galileo as a "Maestlinian"
Paduan Sociabilities: The Pinelli Circle and the Edmund Bruce Episode, 1599-1605
1600: Bruno's Execution
1600: William Gilbert's Project for a Magnetical Philosophy
The Quarrel among the Modernizers: New Convergences at the Fin de Siècle
Galileo's Silence about Bruno
Galileo's First Run-In with the Inquisition
The Copernican Problematic and Astrological Theorizing after Bruno's Trial
Kepler's Continuing Search for Astrology's Foundations
The Naturalist Turn and Celestial Order: Constructing the Nova of 1604
The Predicted Conjunction of the Three Superior Planets and the Unforeseen Nova of 1604
Galileo and the Italian Nova Controversies
Honor and Credibility in the Capra Controversy
Galileo and Kepler's Nova
Celestial Natural Philosophy in a New Key: Kepler's De Stella Nova and the Modernizers
The Possibility of a Reformed Astrological Theoric: Kepler for and against Pico (Again)
The Copernican Question in the Stella Nova: Kepler for Gilbert, against Tycho
Making Room: Kepler between Wacker von Wackenfels and Tycho Brahe
Generating the Nova: Divine Action and Material Necessity
Summary and Conclusion
How Kepler's New Star Traveled to England
Kepler's Star over Germany and Italy
Kepler's English Campaign
The Modernizers, Recurrent Novelties, and Celestial Order
The Struggle for Order
The Emergent Problematic of the Via Moderna
Many Roads for the Modernizers: The Social Disunity of Copernican Natural Philosophy
Along the Via Moderna
Conclusion
Modernizing Theoretical Knowledge: Patronage, Reputation, Learned Sociability, Gentlemanly Veracity
Theoretical Knowledge and Scholarly Reputation
Patron-Centered Heavenly Knowledge
Patronage at the Periphery: Galileo and the Aristocratic Sphere of Learned Sociability
Florentine Court Sociabilities
Galileo's Decision to Leave Padua for Florence
Stabilizing the Telescopic Novelties
Conclusion: Gentlemanly Truth Tellers?
How Galileo's Recurrent Novelties Traveled
The Sidereus Nuncius, the Nova Controversies, and Galileo's "Copernican Silence"
Through a Macro Lens: The Reception of the Sidereus Nuncius and the Telescope, Mid-March to Early May 1610
Kepler's Philosophical Conversation with Galileo and His Book
Galileo's Negotiations with the Tuscan Court, May 1610
Virtual Witnessing, Print, and the Great Resistance
Magini's Strategic Retreat and the 7/11 Problem
Galileo and Kepler: The Denouement
Scottish Scientific Diplomacy: John Wedderburn's Confutatio
Galileo's Novelties and the Jesuits
Conclusion. The Great Controversy
Astrological Prognostication and Astronomical Revolution
Copernicans and Master-Disciple Relations
Seventeenth-Century Thoughts about Belief Change
The End of the Long Sixteenth Century
The Era of Consolidation: World Systems and Comparative Probability
From Philosophizing Astrologers to New-Style Natural Philosophers
Weighing Probables: The Via Moderna versus the Via Media at Midcentury
The Copernican Question after Midcentury
Robert Hooke, Isaac Newton, and the Crucial Experiment
The Copernican Question: Closure and Proof
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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