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Download A Century of Mathematics in America by Peter Duren PDF

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By Peter Duren

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It should be mentioned, however, that some decades later Tycho Brahé (1588) reached the same result in his geo-heliocentric system, although without abandoning the immobility and central position of the earth. Having expounded his cosmological system and physical tenets in the first Book of ‘De Revolutionibus’ (1543), Copernicus dealt with the astronomical calculations in the Books II–VI. Although he had explained the ‘second inequality’ of the planetary motions, he still had to account for the ‘first inequality’, while discarding the equants.

If we consider Copernicus’ work from the standpoint of most sixteenthcentury scholars, we would assume an amused or sceptical or even hostile attitude towards the contents of the first of the six books ‘On the Revolution of the Heavenly Orbs’, whereas we would praise the other five as an outstanding contribution to one of the important liberal arts. These books were highly appreciated as a ‘mathematical’ account of the heavenly motions, while strictly keeping to the ancient fundamental rule of astronomical art, viz.

The thoroughgoing philosophical empiricism of the nominalists was thus based on theological voluntarism. Small wonder, then, that the main Parisian protagonists of the ‘via moderna’, Jean Buridan (c. 1300–1358) and Nicole Oresme (c. 5 Because of the nominalists’ introduction of the impetus theory, their mathematization of physical problems, and their undermining of the dividing wall between terrestrial and celestial mechanics, Duhem on one occasion becomes so enthusiastic that he seems to forget that he has dated the beginning of modern science with Tempier’s decree of 1277, and gives the honour to Buridan.

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