Kepler's Philosophy and the New Astronomy

By Rhonda Martens | Go to book overview
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1. George Smith's phrase, in Harper and Smith 1995, 147.

2. Kepler's dedicatory letter in the Astronomia to “Rudolph II, The Ever August Emperor of the Romans, King of Germany, Hungary, Bohemia, &c. Archduke of Austria, &c.” (AN, 30; i^GJ^III, 7) plays out the metaphor that his study of Mar's orbit was a war (“I myself shall occupy myself with Astronomy, and, riding in the triumphal car, will display the remaining glories of our captive that are particularly known to me, as well as all the aspects of the war, both in its waging and in its conclusion”; AN, 31; KGW III, 8).

Chapter 1
Kepler's Life and Times

1. Duke Ulrich had established a scholarship system designed to aid “children of poor, pious people, of hard-working, Christian, God-fearing character and background, and suited for study” of theology (Methuen 1998, 37).

2. Some of Maestlin's astronomical views are discussed in the next section. See also Jarrell 1971 and Westman 1975 on Maestlin.

3. This comment suggests that, although Kepler was aware (indirectly through Melanchthon and directly through Maestlin; Methuen 1998, 74–78, 155–58) of the idea that astronomy could reveal God, he needed to prove this connection to himself.

4. See Thoren 1990, 432–39; Jardine 1984, especially ch. 1; Rosen 1986; and Gingerich and Westman 1988, 42–76).

5. I have not intended to provide a comprehensive biography of Kepler. Rather, I have simply sketched certain key events surrounding the writing and publication of the works discussed here. For a detailed and moving biography, see Max Caspar's ([1959] 1993) definitive Kepler.

6. Recently Yavetz (1998, 221–78) challenged Schiaparelli's 1877 interpretation of Eudoxus.

7. The author of Mechanics is unknown, but is generally thought to be an early Aristotelian, perhaps a pupil of Aristotle.

8. Moreover, because physics was the study of natural motion, and the experimental method of manipulating objects diverts them from their natural motion, such a method would seem inappropriate.

9. The details of how Ptolemy used these devices to develop an incredibly accurate predictive astronomy are well beyond the scope of this book. See Neugebauer [1957] 1969, and Toomer's (1984) translation of the Almagest.

10. Francesco Patrizi (1529–97), who believed in heavenly fluidity, was mocked frequently by Kepler (Apologia, 155; KGW XX.l, 29; AN, 117; KGW III, 62).


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