Copernicus, the orbs, and the equant

Synthese 83 (2):317 - 323 (1990)
I argue that Copernicus accepted the reality of celestial spheres on the grounds that the equant problem is unintelligible except as a problem about real spheres. The same considerations point to a number of generally unnoticed liabilities of Copernican astronomy, especially gaps between the spheres, and the failure of some spheres to obey the principle that their natural motion is to rotate. These difficulties may be additional reasons for Copernicus's reluctance to publish, and also stand in the way of strict realism as applied to De Revolutionibus, although a realistic astronomy may be envisioned as a goal for Copernicus's research program.
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    References found in this work BETA
    Roger Ariew (1987). The Phases of Venus Before 1610. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 18 (1):81-92.
    Peter Barker & Bernard R. Goldstein (1988). The Role of Comets in the Copernican Revolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 19 (3):299-319.
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    Robert I. Griffiths (1988). Was There a Crisis Before the Copernican Revolution? A Reappraisal of Gingerich's Criticisms of Kuhn. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:127 - 132.
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