The ‘euro-crisis’ has a philosophical origin

GIOVANNI BIRINDELLI, 1 December 2011

(original publication: Catallaxy Institute)

If every night at the same time you looked at a planet in the sky you would notice that, night after night, its position generally tends to move Eastwards. At a certain point, however, that planet will gradually stop, invert the direction of its motion (it will start moving Westwards), then it will stop again and invert once more the direction of its motion (it will start moving Eastwards again), creating a sort of loop. This phenomenon, which is called “retrogression of the planets”, is caused by the fact that that planet’s orbit is around the (“steady”) Sun, not around the (moving) Earth from which you are watching it. There is no retrogression: this phenomenon is created by a reference system centred on the Earth rather than on the Sun. Before Kepler, that is in the geocentric astronomic model, this phenomenon was a problem, a very serious one. (Geocentric) astronomy was resting on the Platonic assumption of uniform circular motions. If the retrogression of the planets could not be explained, and could not be explained within the limits of that assumption, the geocentric astronomic model would fall – and with it cosmology, physics, chemistry, religion, culture, political power, scientific authority, etc. Continue reading