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Ptolemy's Philosophy$
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Jacqueline Feke

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179582

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179582.001.0001

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Harmonics and Astronomy

Harmonics and Astronomy

(p.114) 6 Harmonics and Astronomy
Ptolemy's Philosophy

Jacqueline Feke

Princeton University Press

This chapter analyzes in what ways and to what degree harmonics and astronomy are complementary, particularly with respect to their epistemic efficacy. In Almagest 1.1, Ptolemy claims that mathematics provides sure and incontrovertible knowledge. In his study of harmonics and astronomy, does he maintain this position? Does Ptolemy consider his harmonic and astronomical judgments to be sure and incontrovertible knowledge? It is argued that Ptolemy's Harmonics and Almagest indicate that harmonics does attain this epistemic success, but astronomy does so only in certain respects. How astronomy falters epistemologically has consequences for Ptolemy's practice of astronomy as well as the relevance of the various parts of his astronomy to his ethical system.

Keywords:   Claudius Ptolemy, harmonics, astrology, mathematics, epistemology, Almagest 1.1

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