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The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order by [Westman, Robert]
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The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order 1st , Kindle Edition


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Review

"Now, at long last, we have this vast (and beautifully produced and illustrated) book to hold in our hands."--"Times Literary Supplement (Tls)"

"[An] enormously erudite treatment."--"Science (Aaas)"

"A rich, multifaceted work."--"Renaissance Qtly"

"A radically new approach to his subject."--"Jrnl For the History of Astronomy"

"A radically new approach to his subject."--"Journal For the History of Astronomy"

"A rich, multifaceted work."--Sheila J. Rabin"Renaissance Qtly" (06/01/2012)

"A radically new approach to his subject."--Michel-Pierre Lerner"Journal For The History Of Astronomy" (01/01/2012)

"This important work--massive, original, provocative, and potentially transformational--is the culmination of a lifetime's work."--Steven J. Dick, Former Chief Historian, NASA"Quest: History Of Spaceflight" (01/30/2013)

"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."--William R. Shea"American Historical Review" (03/14/2013)

A rich, multifaceted work. --Sheila J. Rabin"Renaissance Qtly" (06/01/2012)"

A radically new approach to his subject. --Michel-Pierre Lerner"Journal For The History Of Astronomy" (01/01/2012)"

This important work massive, original, provocative, and potentially transformational is the culmination of a lifetime s work. --Steven J. Dick, Former Chief Historian, NASA"Quest: History Of Spaceflight" (01/30/2013)"

From the Inside Flap

"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 bookthe fruit of many years researchoffers 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


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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 11367 KB
  • Print Length: 702 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0520254813
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (28 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00594433C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,644,290 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Resounding Endorsement, with Minor Reservations 18 Feb. 2012
By Buck Field - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After much delay in getting my hands on this book in Patagonia, the preface of Westman's book seduced me instantly. In the opening sentence of the preface he asks: "Under what conditions do people change or give up beliefs to which they are most deeply committed?" This is a fascinating question, although the most unsatisfying and prosaic answer happens to be the most accurate: when that person dies. Thomas Kuhn (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) was well aware of this from his very limited observations, but Westman is driving at illuminating the process of transformation rather than at mere cessation.

What strikes me as odd, is the author's focus on "origins", and his division of the book's material into two equal perspectives. First is a focus on "what was THE orginal question Copernicus was trying to answer" [my emphasis] and follow-up issues and unknowns relating to what question. The second, but not necessarily of lesser importance is "the KINDs of answers offered by Copernicus and those who followed him."

As described, attention may be drawn to use of "the question", which assumes there is a single, most important consideration which is unlike typical cognition. When we are thinking about anything non-trivial, we normally have reinforcing and conflicting networks of complex associations. C's development of the heliocentic model, and the decisions about communicating it were undoubtedly of this level of complexity.

I appreciate the author's diligence and determination to violate the well-meaning advice of friends, and pursue writing this book. As it contains fascinating historical information, e.g.: the association of C with Dominico Novara, this huge volume details the factors which seem perhaps most easily structured within the context illustrated in Creating Scientific Concepts (Bradford Books).
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