Relevant Early Modern Historical Facts
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1184 Pope Lucius III began the practice of inquisitions in the Catholic Church regarding heresy.
1543 – Copernicus’ On the Revolution of Heavenly Orbs (heliocentrism is presented as an “aid to calculation”; retained the idea that the planets move in circular orbits.
1550 - The Catholic Church establishes the Index of Prohibited Books. The last edition was published in 1948.
1590 – Zacharias Jansen and his father Hans (Dutch spectacle makers) invent the microscope; it was mostly a novelty item when first invented because the power of magnification was very low (9x) and somewhat blurry.
1600 - Giordano Bruno confined to solitary confinement for 7 years, then burned at the stake for affirming heliocentrism and denying the existence of a center to the universe; he also suggests that there ar3e an infinite number of inhabited worlds orbiting stars.
1609 – Kepler publishes 1st two laws of planetary motion (Law of Ellipses /elliptical motion around the sun and Law of Equal Areas/velocity).
1610 – Galileo’s Starry Messenger (discussing the moon’s spots, its shining with reflected light, its nonspherical shape; Saturn’s unusual shape; the moons of Jupiter; and the phases of Venus, showing that it orbits the sun.
1613 – Galileo publishes the discovery of sunspots and endorses heliocentrism in Istoria e Dimostrazioni Intorno Alle Macchie Solari e Loro Accidenti Rome (History and Demonstrations Concerning Sunspots and their Properties.
1618 – Kepler publishes his 3rd law (Law of Harmonies/comparing planets); Copernicus’s work put on the Index of Prohibited Books; all teaching of heliocentrism is banned.
1633 – Descartes writes The World (Le Monde); Galileo publishes Dialogue on Two Chief World Systems. Galileo is tired, put on permanent house arrest and required to cease believing, teaching, and writing about his views. Descartes subsequently withdraws The World from publication.
1641 – Descartes’s Meditations is published; Descartes provides a metaphysical and epistemological justification for the new mechanical science.
1663 – Descartes work is put on the Index of Prohibited books after his death in 1650.
1687 – Newton’s Principia (Mathematical Laws of Natural Philosophy) is published (3 laws of motion, which are also defended by Newton, and a defense of the primary vs. secondary quality distinction).
1690 – Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding is published (defends empirical knowledge)
1710 – Berkeley’s Principles of Human Knowledge is published; Berkeley returns God to center stage, arguing against the atheism implicit in modern mechanical science.
1739-40 – Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature; explaining the laws that govern the mind; he also questions scientific causal laws.
1781 – Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is published; Kant envisions himself as making a “Copernican revolution” in epistemology.