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9692447 In 1543 Nicolaus Copernicuss book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the revolutions of the heavenly spheres), was

published. Copernicus, using mainly mathematical claims, presented the radical idea that the earth was not the center of the universe, as it had been predominantly believed and taught to be. He claimed that the earth was a planet and like the other planets revolved around the sun. The Renaissance reaction to this bold new model was to seize the model as a tool, but disregard its implications that the earth moved and the universe was heliocentric. This reaction towards the Copernican theory is deeply revealing of the stance taken towards the mathematical sciences. During Copernicuss time and for at least a hundred years after, the mathematical sciences developed and were increasingly used, but were still considered inferior to natural philosophy and biblical theology. It is important to understand the relationship between the Copernican theory and mathematics to see how the reception of the Copernican theory can be used to infer attitudes towards the mathematical sciences. The Copernican theory came about from mathematics. In an effort to reconcile natural philosophy and mathematics Copernicus postulated that the earth was a planet and like all other planets revolved around the sun. Copernicus created not only a unified world system, but also a non-arbitrary system, that allowed for an order of the planets and the calculating of the movements of heavenly spheres (Henry 2001: 50). Copernicus believed the earth was in motion because the mathematics demanded that is must be (Henry 2001: 53). Rather than reconcile natural philosophy and mathematics, Copernicus became the first of his time to support mathematical reasoning over natural philosophy, upsetting the medieval hierarchy of the sciences (Ronald 1990: 78). The Copernican theory is based on geometry, which during

9692447 the times was considered a lower discipline (Ronald 1990: 78). Copernicus believed that astronomy and mathematics pointed to the truths of nature. Copernicus derived his theory from mathematics, championing mathematics over the other sciences. While Copernicus supported this new hierarchy, there were few that could be considered Copernicans. Copernicuss book was widely read throughout the second half the sixteenth century, but not many agreed with the proposal of a heliocentric universe (Ronald 1990: 84). His model was taught at some universities such as the University of Wittenberg, but only chosen bits were accepted. The Wittenbergers, while adopting his mathematics, ignored the physical claims made by Copernicus (Ronald 1990: 84). People were so entrenched in tradition and still believed that natural philosophy and theology were superior sciences in uncovering truths about the world. Although Copernicuss model of the universe was mathematically sound many scholars still refused to adopt his theory completely because it clashed with traditional beliefs. The disregarding of Copernicus physical proposal showed that mathematics was still a secondary science during the times of the Renaissance. Additionally, we can see that during the Renaissance mathematics was considered inferior to natural philosophy and theology by Giovanni Tolosanis attitude towards Copernicus. Tolosani, a Florentine Dominican theologian-astronomer, acknowledged that Copernicus was an expert in mathematics and astronomy (Ronald 1990: 87), but claimed that because Copernicus was seemingly unskilled with regard to the Holy Scripture (Ronald 1990: 88), Copernicus believed in what was false. Tolosani claimed that Copernicus, being learned in a lower science of astronomy, did not understand physics and logic, and therefore could not be a perfect or complete astronomer. He argued that

9692447 Copernicus arguments had no force because Copernicus was an astrologer, and not even a complete one at that. Tolosani represented the typical belief of many that mathematics was a lower grade of science than theology or natural philosophy. He showed the belief that being an expert in mathematics still did not hold much influence. Furthermore, the belief that mathematics should defer to other sciences, can be seen in Andreas Osianders third person preface. Osiander, a German Lutheran theologian, oversaw the publishing of Copernicuss De revolutionibus and inserted a third person preface, without permission, so as to appear that Copernicus himself wrote it, that acknowledged the claims made were not necessarily true, not even probable (Hartner 1973: 419). Osiander also adds that one of the most important aspects of the heliocentric universe is that it creates results that match observations and that Copernicus theories should not be taken as certainties within astronomy. In writing this preface Osiander separates astronomy into two parts mathematical and physical. Osiander allows De Revolutionibus to be interpreted in a purely mathematical sense, asserting that the theories could not possibly describe the real physical truth. By claming that De Revolutionibus did not have any semblance of the truth Osiander is reinforcing the belief that natural philosophy is a higher discipline than mathematics. Again we see that mathematics, while increasingly used as a tool, still does not have as much important as theology or natural philosophy in the Renaissance mind. The Copernican theory, while not banned, was still not completely taught in its entirety during the Renaissance. Many times only the mathematics of Copernicuss theories were taken into account while the physical implications were disregarded. Mostly Copernincus work was reviewed as a mathematical piece, as can be seen by

9692447 Tolosanis opinion of Copernicuss universe and Osianders preface. The reception of the Copernican theory shows the Renaissance mans realization in the usefulness of mathematics. Mathematics was shown to be a tool, but not a higher science. The Renaissance man, stuck in tradition, continued to view mathematics as an inferior science to theology and natural philosophy. Although this trend continued for at least another century after Copernicus time, Copernicus helped develop the idea we hold today of mathematics- that it can help describe and define the world around us.

9692447 Bibliography Debus, Allen G. 1978, Man and Nature in the Renaissance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Ch. 1, pp. 1-15. Hartner, Willy. 1973. Copernicus, the Man, the Work, and Its History, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 117: 413-422. Henry, John. 2001. Moving Heaven and Earth: Copernicus and the Solar System. Cambridge: Icon Books, Ch. 2, pp. 12-55. Lindenberg, David C. 1990. Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Ch 4, pp. 155-203 Ronald, Numbers L. 1990. God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter between Christianity and Science. Berkeley: University of California Press.