Kepler's theory of the soul: A study on epistemology

Abstract
Kepler’s theory of the soul: a study on epistemology Jorge M. Escobara, aUniversidad de Antioquia, Calle 67 #53-108, Of. 12-434, Medellín, Colombia Received 5 June 2006; revised 22 December 2006. Available online 6 March 2008.Kepler is mainly known among historians of science for his astronomical theories and his approaches to problems having to do with philosophy of science and ontology. This paper attempts to contribute to Kepler studies by providing a discussion of a topic not frequently considered, namely Kepler’s theory of the soul, a general theory of knowledge whose central problem is what makes knowledge possible, rather than what makes knowledge true, as happens in the case of Descartes’s and Bacon’s epistemologies. Kepler’s theory consists of four issues: the theory of the different sorts of soul—that is, the human soul, the animal soul, the vegetable soul, and the Earth soul—concerning their faculties, the differences and the resemblances emerging among them, the relation they maintain with their own bodies and the world, and the distinction soul–world. The paper discusses these issues from a historical perspective, that is, it reconstructs the way they appear in three periods of Kepler’s career: the period prior to the publication of the Mysterium cosmographicum, the period from 1596 to 1611, and the period of the Harmonices mundi libri V. Finally, Kepler’s epistemology is briefly contrasted with Descartes’s and Bacon’s in order to suggest that Kepler’s could be seen as a third way to understand the philosophical origins of Modernity. Keywords: Johannes Kepler; René Descartes; Francis Bacon; Anima; Force; Animism
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    Francis Bacon (1969). The Works of Francis Bacon. St. Clair Shores, Mich.,Scholarly Press.

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