From Influence to Inhabitation

The Transformation of Astrobiology in the Early Modern Period

  • James E. Christie

Table of contents

About this book


This book describes how and why the early modern period witnessed the marginalisation of astrology in Western natural philosophy, and the re-adoption of the cosmological view of the existence of a plurality of worlds in the universe, allowing the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

Founded in the mid-1990s, the discipline of astrobiology combines the search for extraterrestrial life with the study of terrestrial biology – especially its origins, its evolution and its presence in extreme environments. This book offers a history of astrobiology's attempts to understand the nature of life in a larger cosmological context. Specifically, it describes the shift of early modern cosmology from a paradigm of celestial influence to one of celestial inhabitation. Although these trends are regarded as consequences of Copernican cosmology, and hallmarks of a modern world view, they are usually addressed separately in the historical literature. Unlike others, this book takes a broad approach that examines the relationship of the two.

From Influence to Inhabitation will benefit both historians of astrology and historians of the extraterrestrial life debate, an audience which includes researchers and advanced students studying the history and philosophy of astrobiology. It will also appeal to historians of natural philosophy, science, astronomy and theology in the early modern period.


Extraterrestrial Life Debate Plurality of Worlds Seventeenth-Century Cosmology History of Astrology History of Astrobiology Scientific Revolution in Astronomy The Marginalisation of Astrology in Western Natural Philosophy Copernican cosmology astronomy and theology in the early modern period Celestial Bodies Kelper Celestial Bodies Newton

Authors and affiliations

  • James E. Christie
    • 1
  1. 1.NSWAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-22168-3
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-22169-0
  • Series Print ISSN 0066-6610
  • Series Online ISSN 2215-0307
  • Buy this book on publisher's site