Nicolaus Copernicus — His Life and Work
In the 15th century mathematical astronomy attained a point, at least in the works of its leading exponents, where it was no longer possible to avoid making an effort to provide an answer to two basic dilemmas. The first of these was the question of the feasibility of astronomical theories, a problem inherited from ancient natural philosophy. The controversy on the conventionality of scientific theory was to continue into modern times although the substance of that controversy was to undergo a certain change. The second problem pertained to the credibility of established authorities and was rooted in the contradiction that lay between old theories and modern data based on observation.
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