What is the Copernican Principle and What Does It Mean?June 27, 2021
Copernicus explained the heliocentric (Sun-centered) principle, which is known as the Copernican Principle or Copernicus Theory in the history of science and which accepts the principle that the Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun. Considered the founder of the new astronomy, Copernicus could only explain his ideas at the end of his life.
His reasons are that he is not sure that these are true enough and that he is afraid of the church because he is a clergyman. According to the Christian clergy of that time, Jesus Christ had commanded the Sun to stand still, and the Sun was standing still. Again, according to the general belief, the Earth was like a flat tray. Those who thought otherwise were punished with death.
Copernicus, who had health problems towards the end of his life, had no fear of these clergy. Now he could easily explain his ideas and reveal his book. He sent his book to the Pope and wrote the following letter: “Dear Father, I know that those who read what is written in the book will immediately reject it. I have never been a person who does not care about the opinions of my people and defends their ideas. I have been trying to give up on the things I started with. If anyone criticizes what I wrote, I will ignore them and consider it absurd…”
Copernicus explained his heliocentric theory in detail in his most important work “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium”. In 1540, permission was granted for the publication of the book, which included all his ideas. Copernicus, an astronomer, doctor, and priest, did a great service to science by telling the world the wrong theory of the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. So the Earth was not the center of the Universe. He died in Frombork on May 24, 1543.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook