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Heliocentrism, Plurality of Worlds and Ethics: Anton Francesco Doni and Giordano Bruno

  • Pietro Daniel Omodeo
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)

Abstract

The publication of Nicholas Copernicus’s (1473–1543) De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, which presented a mathematical planetary theory based on heliocentric hypotheses, has often been regarded as a watershed in the history of science and civilization.3 The new planetary conception had a tremendous impact on European culture and undermined the medieval theology-loaded understanding of nature, with man at its center as the spectator of God’s Creation. Thomas Kuhn even argued in The Copernican Revolution that the heliocentric theory and the motion of the Earth eventually exploded the entire cultural system of beliefs and values received from the Middle Ages. In particular, many ideas descending from literal exegesis of the Bible were irremediably cast into doubt.4

Keywords

Natural Knowledge Copernican Revolution Natural Religion Infinite Universe Copernican Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Anton Francesco Doni, I Marmi, ed. Ezio Chiaroboli (Vinegia: Per Francesco Marcolini, 1552; Bari: Laterza, 1928). “From the moment when we the people [plebei] can read in our maternal language, you, the learned people [dotti], should not be surprised, and say: ‘he has not been to university’; in fact, while you know things in Greek and Latin, we know them in the vernacular [vulgare]” (11).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Giordano Bruno, Spaccio de la bestia trionfante, in Dialoghi filosofici italiani, ed. Michele Ciliberto (1584; Milano: Mondadori, 2000), 509.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Nicholas Copernicus, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) (Norimbergae: apud Ioh. Petreium, 1543).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Thomas S. Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought (1957; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985), 193.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Anton Francesco Doni, IMondi (Vinegia: Francesco Marcolini, 1552–1553). The text went through eight Italian editions between 1552 and 1606.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Leon Battista Alberti, Momus (Romae: Mazocchius, 1520).Google Scholar
  7. See Henning S. Hufnagel, Ein Stück von jeder Wissenschaft: Gattungshybridisierung, Argumentation und Erkenntnis in Giordano Brunos italienischen Dialogen (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2009).Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    Cf. Giovanni Aquilecchia, “Pietro Aretino e altri poligrafi a Venezia,” in Storia della cultura veneta, ed. Girolamo Arnaldi and Manlio Pastora Stocchi (Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1980), 61–98.Google Scholar
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    Paul F. Grendler, Critics of the Italian World (1530–1560): Anton Francesco Doni, Nicolò Franco and Ortensio Lando (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), 200.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Anton Francesco Doni, Terremoto (Earthquake) (Roma, 1556).Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    Georg Joachim Rheticus, Narratio prima (Gedani: Per Franciscum Rhodum, 1540).Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    Erasmus Rheinhold, Tabulae Prutenicae (Tubingae: Per Ulricium Morhardium, 1551).Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Celio Calcagnini, Quod Coelum stet, Terra autem moveatur, in Opera aliquot (Basileae: Froben, 1544), 388–395.Google Scholar
  14. 17.
    Cf. Miguel A. Granada and Dario Tessicini, “Copernicus and Fracastoro: The Dedicatory Letters to Pope Paul III, the History of Astronomy, and the Quest for Patronage,” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 36.3 (2005), 431–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 19.
    Concerning the Renaissance debate on the elements and their motion, see Michele Camerota and Mario Otto Helbing, “Galileo and Pisan Aristotelianism: Galileo’s De motu antiquiora and the Questiones de motu elementorum of the Pisan Professors,” Early Science and Medicine 5.4 (2000), 319–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 20.
    Cf. Dilwyn Knox, “Ficino, Copernicus and Bruno on the Motion of the Earth,” Bruniana & Campanelliana 5 (1999), 333–366.Google Scholar
  17. 22.
    On account of this passage, Boffito compared Doni to Galileo: G. Boffito, “Il Doni precursore di Galileo?” Annuario storico di meteorologia italiano 1 (1898), 23–28.Google Scholar
  18. 23.
    Doni refers here to some vulgarization of De sphera like Leonardo Dati, La spera vulgare (Florence, c. 1495 and Florence, 1513), or Mauro da Firenze, Annotationi sopra la lettione della Spera del Sacro Bosco (Firenze: Torrentino, 1550). On the sphera as a scentific genre, cf. Lynn Thorndike, The Sphere of Sacrobosco and its Commentators (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949).Google Scholar
  19. 25.
    As quoted in Giovanni Aquilecchia, “Bruno at Oxford: Between Aristotle and Copernicus,” in Giordano Bruno 1583–1585: The English Experience, ed. Michele Ciliberto and Nicholas Mann (Firenze: Olschki, 1997), 117–124.Google Scholar
  20. 26.
    The real existence of the Accademia Pellegrina in Venice has been debated at length. If it did exist, Doni was its president between 1553 and 1563. Cf. G. Romei, “Doni, Anton Francesco,” Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani 41 (1992), 158–167, 162.Google Scholar
  21. 31.
    See, for instance, Carlo Curcio, Dal Rinascimento alla Controriforma: Contributo alla storia del pensiero politico italiano do Guicciardini a Botero (Roma: Colombo, 1934); and Luigi Firpo, “Il pensiero politico del Rinascimento e della Controriforma,” in Questioni di storia moderna, ed. Ettore Rota (Milano: Marzorati, 1951), 345–403.Google Scholar
  22. 32.
    See, among others, Alexandre Koyré, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1957).Google Scholar
  23. 36.
    Arthur Oncken Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1936); and Granada, “Il rifiuto della distinzione tra potentia absoluta e potentia ordinata di Dio e l’affermazione dell’universo infinito in Giordano Bruno,” Rivista di storia de lla filosofia 49.3 (1994), 495–532.Google Scholar
  24. 40.
    Cf. Gilberto Sacerdoti, Sacrificio e sovranità. Teologia e politica nell’Europa di Shakespeare e Bruno (Torino: Einaudi, 2002).Google Scholar

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© Pietro Daniel Omodeo 2016

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