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(896 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
The waning of the fear of comets reveals the shift brought about by the supersession of medieval cosmology (Cosmos) by early modern astronomy. In the old world view, all unusual celestial apparitions, such as comets, meteors, and shooting stars, were regarded as atmospheric phenomena, for Aristotelian cosmology only permitted complete and perfect circular orbits for the spheres of the stars, including the sun and moon. Comets, being irregular and transient phenomena, were therefore located benea…
Date: 2019-10-14

Natural philosophy

(3,400 words)

Author(s): Meinel, Christoph | Stengel, Friedemann | Evers, Dirk | Rueger, Alexander |
1. Concept and research positionsThe term “natural philosophy” lacks a unanimous definition. In the first centuries of the early modern period, it was still largely synonymous with a general science of nature that was a central component of philosophy. As empirical knowledge came to be regarded as the prototype of reliable (philosophical) knowledge (Empiricism; see below, 3.), so the term natural philosophy even began to be used as a synonym for experimental physics – it was still so used at Scottis…
Date: 2020-04-06


(758 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
Seventeenth-century philosophy, under pressure from the new mathematical natural science, first developed the view that everything that happened and had happened in space, including human action, since the beginning of the world, was determined not by God and the “highest good” he defined, but, ineluctably and entirely, by unalterable laws of nature. However, the term “determinism” (antonym: “indeterminism”) was coined by German philosophers in the second half of the 18th century as they discuss…
Date: 2019-10-14