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User:Librarian

Librarian and textual critic. Logician, philosopher, and drunk.

[Emphasis mine]

The censure of the imaginary and the wholesale rejection by strict Christian circles of the culture of the phantasmic age [the system of natural philosophic belief stretching from Aristotle to the Alchemists] result in a radical change in the human imagination.

Here again the works of some historians of ideas betray an ineradicable prejudice: the belief that this change was caused by the advent of heliocentrism and the concept that the universe is infinite. There are writers to this day who assert seriously that Copernicus (or Bruno, which would be much more accurate) was at the bottom of a "revolution" that was not only scientific but psychological as well. According to them, the finite Thomist cosmos was able to quiet human anxieties, which exploded as soon as the belief in an infinite universe became generally accepted.

That would not be serious if it were only schoolboys that were taught fairy tales of this kind, though they too deserve something better. Unfortunately they circulate even in the most learned tracts and it would be in vain to hope for their immediate cessation. At issue are made up ideas so convenient and superficial that no one bothers to refute them any more. They continue to circulate, from generation to generation, forming one of the most tenacious traditions of modern culture.

Responsible for this is a certain linear concept of the progress of history, which everywhere seeks signs of "change" and "evolution". Because he advanced a heliocentric image of our solar system, which is closer to scientific truth, Copernicus is identified with a key moment of change, of evolution, in short, of progress....

--Ioan P. Couliano



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