The Copernican Revolution (book)

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The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought
The Copernican Revolution, 1957 edition.gif
Cover of the first edition
Author Thomas S. Kuhn
Country United States
Language English
Subject History of astronomy
Published 1957 (Harvard University Press)
Media type Print
Pages 297
ISBN 0-674-17103-9

The Copernican Revolution is a 1957 book by Thomas Kuhn. An analysis of the Copernican Revolution, it documents the pre-Ptolemaic understanding through the Ptolemaic system and its variants until the eventual acceptance of the Keplerian system.[1]

Kuhn argues that the Ptolemaic system provided broader appeal than a simple astronomical system but also became intertwined in broader philosophical and theological beliefs. Kuhn argues that this broader appeal made it more difficult for other systems to be proposed.[2][3][4][5]


Kuhn summarized at the end of The Copernican Revolution, citing the permanent achievements of Copernicus and Newton, while comparing the incommensurability of Newtonian physics with Aristotelian concepts that preceded the then new physics. Kuhn also noted that discoveries, such as that produced by Newton, were not in agreement with the prevailing world view during his lifetime.[5]


  1. ^ Kuhn, Thomas (1957). The Copernican Revolution (Copyright renewed 1985). Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-17103-9. 
  2. ^ Butterfield, Herbert (April 1958). "The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought by Thomas S. Kuhn" (Book review). The American Historical Review (UK: Oxford University Press) 63 (3): 656–657. doi:10.1086/ahr/63.3.656. JSTOR 1848896. Retrieved 2014-02-22.  Text available on JSTOR
  3. ^ Hall, Richard J. (May 1970). "Kuhn and the Copernican Revolution" (article available on web page). The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (Oxford University Press) 21 (2): 196–197. doi:10.1093/bjps/21.2.196. JSTOR 686700. 
  4. ^ Swerdlow, N. M. (March 2004). "An Essay on Thomas Kuhn's First Scientific Revolution, The Copernican Revolution" (PDF). Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia, PA: American Philosophical Society) 148 (1): 64–120. JSTOR 1558245. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  5. ^ a b Westman, Robert S. "Two Cultures or One?: A Second Look at Kuhn's The Copernican Revolution." Isis (1994): 79-115.

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