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History of Science, Philosophy

The Poetic Structure of the World: Copernicus and Kepler

Fernand Hallyn

Translated by Donald M. Leslie

368 pp

15 black and white illus.

Published: June 1990

6 x 9


$28.95, £23.00

ISBN: 9780942299618


Out of Print

ISBN: 9780942299601

The Poetic Structure of the World is a major reconsideration of a crucial turning point in Western thought and culture: the heliocentric revolution of Copernicus and Kepler. Conceiving of their work not in terms of a history of science or astronomy, but as events embedded in a wider field of images, symbols, texts, and practices, Fernand Hallyn insists that these new representations of the universe cannot be explained by recourse to theories of “genius” and “intuition.”

The scientific imagination is not fundamentally different from a mythic or poetic imagination, and the work of Copernicus and Kepler, Hallyn contends, must be examined on the level of rhetorical structure. Thus the new sun-centered universe is shown to be inseparable from the aesthetic, epistemological, theological, and social imperatives of both Neoplatonism and Mannerism in the sixteenth century.

“A fascinating dialogue on the discourses of early modern astronomy. Hallyn’s study of hypotheses, the heuristic fictions of science, takes its cue from C.S. Peirce’s work on abduction and abductive inference in science, but his work really begins where Peirce’s epistemology leaves off: with the categories of early modern inquiry, a task to which Hallyn … is particularly well suited.”—MLN

“A book in the best tradition of the interdisciplinary and intellectual freedom that has characterized philosophy and the human sciences since the 1960s.”—Libération