Full Text

Copernican revolution

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


M etaphysics, epistemology In opposition to the traditional geocentric, Ptolemaic framework for explaining the appearance of planetary motion, Nicolaus Copernicus established a new mode of thought that claims that the earth is in motion and that the sun is immovable at the center of the planetary system. This hypothesis was confirmed by Kepler and Newton , and represents a fundamental transformation in the development of modern science. In opposition to the traditional metaphysical claim that knowledge must conform to the objects, Kant in his critical philosophy sought to establish that objects must conform to our knowledge and that understanding is the lawgiver of nature. He drew a famous analogy in the preface to the second edition of the first Critique , comparing his new mode of thought in philosophy to what Copernicus did in astronomy. In proposing that objects must conform to our knowledge, he claimed to proceed “precisely on the lines of Copernicus' primary hypothesis.” Apparent features of our experience can be ascribed to ourselves rather than to the objects of our experience. Commentators accordingly take Kant's philosophy to be a Copernican revolution in metaphysics. Moreover, while Copernicus' thesis is only a hypothesis, Kant claimed that he has demonstrated his thesis apodeictically by examining the nature of the forms of intuition and categories. “This indeed ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top