In the system of Giordano Bruno, who sought to construct a philosophy of nature on the basis of new scientific ideas, more particularly the doctrine of Copernicus, we find the outlines of a theory of cosmic evolution conceived as an essentially vital process.
It figured in astronomical tables until the time of Copernicus, but is now known to have no foundation in fact, being based on an error in Ptolemy's determination of precession.
The only work published by Copernicus on his own initiative was a Latin version of the Greek Epistles of Theophylact (Cracow, 1509).
- Rheticus was the only contemporary biographer of Copernicus, and his narrative perished irretrievably.
Further, Copernicus could not have known of Aristarchus's doctrine, since Archimedes's work was not published till after Copernicus's death.
Its rich library is now housed in the old university buildings, erected in the 15th century, in the beautiful Gothic court of which a bronze statue of Copernicus was placed in 1900.
Copernicus (1473-1543) employed the same system, and greatly simplified the application of it, especially by regarding the earth as rotating and the sun as the centre of the solar system.
Most noteworthy, however, in this connexion is the fact that he anticipated Copernicus by maintaining the theory of the rotation of the earth.
At the same time the texts of ancient authors supplied hints which led to discoveries so far-reaching in their results as those of Copernicus, Columbus and Galileo.
But it is darkest just before the dawn; and Kant, the Copernicus of philosophy, had really altered the aspects of the doctrine of ideas.
Sometimes he misunderstood the astronomical science of the ancients, sometimes that of Copernicus and Tycho Brahe.
Dr Munger's estimate may be accepted, with reservations, as the true one: "He was a theologian as Copernicus was an astronomer; he changed the point of view, and thus not only changed everything, but pointed the way toward unity in theological thought.
I think we will go forth and fill these billion worlds with generations that in kind will produce their own Dante, Columbus, Copernicus, Da Vinci, Newton, Shakespeare, Bach, Washington, Carver, Curie, Edison, Chaplin, Earhart, Tolkien, and ten thousand more masters in a thousand more arts.
Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?
From the time the law of Copernicus was discovered and proved, the mere recognition of the fact that it was not the sun but the earth that moves sufficed to destroy the whole cosmography of the ancients.
But even after the discovery of the law of Copernicus the Ptolemaic worlds were still studied for a long time.
To the defenders of the laws of Copernicus and Newton, to Voltaire for example, it seemed that the laws of astronomy destroyed religion, and he utilized the law of gravitation as a weapon against religion.