<history of philosophy, biography> German astronomer (1571-1630) who modified the heliocentric views of Copernicus by postulating that planets move in elliptical (not circular) orbits with the sun at one focus, each of them sweeping through arcs of equal area in equal times. Despite his penchant for neoplatonic explanations, Kepler's achievement, published in Astronomia Nova (A New Astronomy based on Causes) (1609) and Harmonia Mundi (The Harmony of the World) (1618), provided an important step toward the comprehensive mathematical theory of celestial motion developed by Newton. Recommended Reading: Johannes Kepler, Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, tr. by Charles Glenn Wallis (Prometheus, 1995); Max Caspar, Kepler, tr. by C. Doris Hellman (Dover, 1993); Bruce Stephenson, Kepler's Physical Astronomy (Princeton, 1994); Charlotte Methuen, Kepler's Tuebingen: Stimulus to a Theological Mathematics (Ashgate, 1998); and Alexandre Koyre, Astronomical Revolution: Copernicus - Kepler - Borelli (Dover, 1992).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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