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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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Lunar Revolutions

Lunar Revolutions

The Triumph of the New Astronomy

(p.177) Chapter 6 Lunar Revolutions
Science before Socrates

Daniel W. Graham

Oxford University Press

Scientific discovery requires not only that one correctly explain phenomena, but that one persuade one’s peers. Anaxagoras’ theory was accepted by Empedocles, Diogenes of Apollonia, and even Philolaus (who had a radically different model of the heavens), and apparently Democritus. The doxographic tradition shows a mixture of different theories competing with heliophotism and antiphraxis. But when errors are corrected and the theories are put in chronological order (as they are not in doxographies), we see that there were virtually no new theories of lunar light and eclipses proposed after the time of Anaxagoras. Indeed, Aristotle himself uses antiphraxis as a paradigm of successful scientific explanation–even though it fits poorly with his own model of the heavens. Mathematical astronomers from Aristarchus to Ptolemy adopted heliophotism as an axiom and antiphraxis as a theorem. No competing hypothesis was even considered from the time of Ptolemy to the present day.

Keywords:   Empedocles, Diogenes of Apollonia, Philolaus, Democritus, doxography, Plato, Aristotle, Stoics, Epicureans, Ptolemy

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