In the Early Middle Ages , Plato's picture of the heavens was dominant among European philosophers, which led Christian thinkers to question the role and nature of the world-soul. In the early phases of the Western recovery of Aristotle , Robert Grosseteste c.
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Thomas Aquinas c. The soul shares the motion of its sphere and causes the sphere to move through its love and desire for the unmoved separate intelligence. After the Condemnations of , most philosophers came to reject the idea that the celestial spheres had souls. Robert Kilwardby c. He maintained, instead, that "celestial bodies are moved by their own natural inclinations similar to weight".
Since the heavens are spherical, the only motion that could be natural to them is rotation. Kilwardby's idea had been earlier held by another Oxford scholar, John Blund c. In two slightly different discussions, John Buridan c. He noted that this would allow God to rest on the seventh day, but he left the matter to be resolved by the theologians. Nicole Oresme c.
According to Grant, except for Oresme, scholastic thinkers did not consider the force-resistance model to be properly applicable to the motion of celestial bodies, although some, such as Bartholomeus Amicus , thought analogically in terms of force and resistance. Although Nicolaus Copernicus — transformed Ptolemaic astronomy and Aristotelian cosmology by moving the Earth from the center of the universe, he retained both the traditional model of the celestial spheres and the medieval Aristotelian views of the causes of its motion. Copernicus follows Aristotle to maintain that circular motion is natural to the form of a sphere.
However, he also appears to have accepted the traditional philosophical belief that the spheres are moved by an external mover. Johannes Kepler 's — cosmology eliminated the celestial spheres, but he held that the planets were moved both by an external motive power, which he located in the Sun, and a motive soul associated with each planet. In an early manuscript discussing the motion of Mars, Kepler considered the Sun to cause the circular motion of the planet.
He then attributed the inward and outward motion of the planet, which transforms its overall motion from circular to oval, to a moving soul in the planet since the motion is "not a natural motion, but more of an animate one". In the aftermath of Copernicanism the planets came to be seen as bodies moving freely through a very subtle aethereal medium. Although many scholastics continued to maintain that intelligences were the celestial movers, they now associated the intelligences with the planets themselves, rather than with the celestial spheres.
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