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“To Measure by a Known Measure”: Kepler’s Geometrical Epistemology in the Harmonices Mundi Libri V

Romagni, Domenica (2024) “To Measure by a Known Measure”: Kepler’s Geometrical Epistemology in the Harmonices Mundi Libri V. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In this paper, I address the epistemological role geometry plays in Kepler’s Harmonices Mundi Libri V and argue that the framework he develops there is meant to address concerns regarding the confirmation of astronomical hypotheses, which are evidenced by comments in earlier works regarding empirical underdetermination. The geometrical epistemology that he constructs to combat these concerns in the Harmonices Mundi is introduced in Book I and then is extended to his theory of harmonic proportion in Book III, finally providing the foundation for his derivation of the planetary motions in Book V. To argue for these claims, I begin by discussing Kepler’s concern with underdetermination in earlier works. Then I turn to the Harmonices Mundi and argue that Kepler seeks to provide a geometrical system that directly links the theorist with the world. Finally, I show how he applies this system to his astronomy via his harmonic theory. This account not only helps us to understand Kepler’s scientific methodology better but also sheds light on Kepler’s enthusiasm for the results of the Harmonices Mundi by showing how they provide an example of the successful application of his geometrical epistemology.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Romagni, Domenicaromagni@colostate.edu0000-0002-2805-1681
Keywords: Kepler, Harmony of the World, geometry, music theory, underdetermination
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Dr. Domenica Romagni
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2024 22:55
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 22:55
Item ID: 22967
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: June 2024
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22967

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