The Discovery of Kepler's Laws: The Interaction of Science, Philosophy, and Religion

By Job S. J. Kozhamthadam | Go to book overview

2
KEPLER'S PHILOSOPHICAL IDEAS

Although Kepler is seldom considered a philosopher by profession, he was very much one by choice and taste. As Caspar puts it, "Kepler's cupiditas speculandi strove for higher things, it flew through the breadth of the world and fathomed the depths up to the boundaries which are set for mortals."1 His inquiring mind always enjoyed asking "Why?" of everything around him. His works show that he always came up with a response to his questions; even if some of his answers turned out to be utterly wrong, he never stopped speculating. Immersing himself in philosophical issues was a delight, as is evident from his words in the AN, "When I was old enough to taste the sweetness of philosophy,2 I embraced it all with an extreme passion...."3 Another time, when he was accused of delaying the publication of the Rudolphine Tables, he replied: "I beg you, my friends, do not condemn me completely to the drudgery of arithmetical calculations, but allow me to have some time for philosophical speculations, which are my only delight."4

If a philosopher is a person who loves wisdom rather than utilitarian knowledge or "applied science," then Kepler certainly was a philosopher. Unlike most of his contemporaries and, for that matter, many of our own, he believed that learning about nature and its laws was knowledge worth pursuing for its own sake, irrespective of its

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The Discovery of Kepler's Laws: The Interaction of Science, Philosophy, and Religion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1 - Kepler's System of Thought 9
  • 1 - Kepler's Religious Ideas 11
  • 2 - Kepler's Philosophical Ideas 47
  • 3 - Kepler's Scientific Ideas 84
  • Part 2 - The Discovery of the Laws 111
  • 4 - The Acceptance of Copernicanism 113
  • 5 - The Development of a Truly Heliocentric View 143
  • 6 - The Vicarious Hypothesis and Its Failure 162
  • 7 - The Final Break with Geocentrism 173
  • 8 - The Discovery of the Second Law 181
  • 9 - The Discovery of the First Law 199
  • Conclusion 246
  • Notes 265
  • Glossary of Select Technical Terms 297
  • Bibliography 301
  • Index 311
  • About the Author 316
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