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Science before SocratesParmenides, Anaxagoras, and the New Astronomy$
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Daniel Graham

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199959785

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199959785.001.0001

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Empire of the Sun

Empire of the Sun

Implications of Heliophotism, and a New Model

(p.109) Chapter 4 Empire of the Sun
Science before Socrates

Daniel W. Graham

Oxford University Press

Parmenides’ theory of heliophotism had important implications. (1) The moon is opaque. (2) It orbits below the sun. (3) It is spherical. (4) The sun and moon are permanent bodies. (5) Heavenly bodies are massy. (6) The paths of some heavenly bodies go under the earth. (7) Eclipses can be explained by astronomical alignments whereby there is a blocking (“antiphraxis”) of the sun’s light. Since most points are denied by sixth-century Ionian theories, evidence for them renders obsolete earlier theories. The new astronomical theory requires a new physics. The vortex theory accounts for the centrifugal force needed to keep massy bodies aloft. The new astronomy introduces a Lithic Model in contrast to the Meteorological Model of the sixth century: heavenly bodies are stony masses rather than airy or fiery exhalations. All seven points (as well as heliophotism itself) are attested in the cosmological theory of Anaxagoras.

Keywords:   Anaxagoras, astronomy, cosmology, history of science, vortex

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