Thursday, August 15, 2013

From a History of Science Textbook

"Modern astronomers regard the planet Earth as being an undistinguished planet, orbiting a fairly unremarkable star on the outer fringes of an unexceptional galaxy...."

They are implying that the physical size and location means that the Earth could not be particularly important.

How would they react if we used the same sort of reasoning about Newton's Principia?

"Newton's Principia is an average-size book written in a country that is on the outer fringes of a small continent."

Would the book be more important if it were a very long book written in the center of the largest continent - say, in Kazakhstan rather than in England?

The quotation is from Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 277. 


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