Article ID: CBB000931669

Principle of the Relativity of Motion in Pre-Copernican Science (2008)


Pabjan, T. (Author)

Kwartalnik Historii Nauki i Techniki
Volume: 53, no. 1
Issue: 1
Pages: 105-121

Publication Date: 2008
Edition Details: [Translated title.] In Polish.
Language: Polish

The relativity of motion is a physical phenomenon, which consists in the fact that the movement of a body that can be seen by an observer depends on the state of motion of the observer himself. According to the principle of relativity of motion, which is discussed in this paper, there are no absolute motions. The only motions that have physical meaning are the relative motions - that are motions observed or described in a given system of reference. It is often said that Copernicus was the first relativist in the history of mankind, because as first used the principle of relativity of motion as the main argument against the movement of the Sun and the whole sky. This paper is willing to show that this thesis is not true. Relativity of motion was commonly known before Copernicus. This article presents a number of ancient as well as medieval authors, who knew the principle of relativity of motion. In their writings one can see how the process of relativization of the notion of motion proceeded within the philosophical and scientific outlook.

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Authors & Contributors
Wians, William
Roochnik, David
Simplicius of Cilicia
McKirahan, Richard D.
Giannetto, Enrico Antonio
McLaughlin, Thomas J.
Apeiron: Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
International Philosophical Quarterly
Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review
Cornell University Press
Greenwood Press
University of Minnesota
Boston College
Motion (physical)
Newton, Isaac
Copernicus, Nicolaus
Galilei, Galileo
Bruno, Giordano
Thomas Aquinas, Saint
Time Periods
16th century
18th century
3rd century, B.C.
20th century
17th century

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