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By DeWitt C., DeWitt, B.S. (eds.)

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The most basic point about the planets was that, out of the thousands of heavenly bodies, there were seven that circled the earth westward once a day like all others, but did not do so in unison with them; these seven bodies also revolved slowly eastward, so that from day to day their position shifted. That is, whereas a fixed star revolved around the earth in such a way that after INTELLECTUAL BACKGROUND twenty-four hours it returned to the same position (relative to other stars) which it had before, after twenty-four hours a planet did not quite return to the earlier position but usually had fallen behind somewhat, being located slightly eastward.

The same applies to all the analogous terms used in this book: geocentrism, heliocentrism, geokineticism, Copernicanism, Aristotelianism, realism, instrumentalism, Catholicism, Protestantism, etc. , Westman 2011: 20) to altogether avoid the term “Copernicanism” and similar ones. 2 My account has been inspired by Galileo’s Treatise on the Sphere, or Cosmography, a short elementary textbook of traditional geostatic astronomy which he wrote and used in the early part of his teaching career, but never published; cf.

My account also relies on Cohen 1960, Kuhn 1957, Lindberg 1992, Rosen (1959, 1992), Toulmin and Goodfield 1961. 3 In modern astronomy, these dates are respectively March 21, June 22, September 23, and December 22, to reflect the fact that the earth’s orbit is an ellipse with the sun at a focus, so that the equinox and solstice points do not divide that orbit into four equal parts. 1 COPERNICUS’S INNOVATION In 1543, Copernicus published his epoch-making book, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres.

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