The development of the idea of ​​the multiplicity of worlds in European philosophy and theology of the XVII-XIX centuries

  1. Lemma
  2. Развитие идеи множественности миров в европейской философии и богословии XVII-XIX веков
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Scientific theories and disciplines > Classical physics - Scientific theories and disciplines
  6. 07-08-2018
  7. Солдатов, Александр Васильевич [Author]. Развитие идеи множественности миров в европейской философии и богословии XVII-XIX веков
  8. Известия Российского государственного педагогического университета им. А.И. Герцена
  9. Newton, Isaac (1643-1727) - Descartes, René - Evolution - Catholic theology - universe - astronomy - Scientific research
  10. Click Here
    1. <p>Солдатов, А. В. (2012). Развитие идеи множественности миров в европейской философии и богословии XVII-XIX веков. <em>Известия Российского государственного педагогического университета им. А.И. Герцена</em>, (146), 33-41.</p>
    1. The article argues that the idea of the infinity of space and possibility of life developed towards the beginning of the 17th century due to the development of Galileo’s and Newton’s mechanistic picture of the world. In the 18th century, the Bishop of Paris, relying on the authority of theologians and scholars, officially declared the compatibility of the doctrine of the plurality of worlds with Christian doctrine. In modern times this idea was further developed by Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle. The universe, in his view, consists of many worlds - stars, planets, their satellites - and all of them are inhabited. He believed that the Universe as a whole was unlimited and its structure was established once and for all, while individual worlds could appear and die "because of the universal and eternal motion of cosmic matter.”

      By the 19th century, two approaches to the problem of the plurality of the worlds became dominant: Cartesian and Newtonian. Descartes was quite cautious and sought a compromise between religion and science. To justify his idea of the plurality of worlds, he pointed out that “it would be sacrilegious boldness to reduce the goals of God to man … as well as generally try to comprehend his goals.” Unlike Descartes, Newton did not seek a consensus between science and religion, but rather a complete agreement without any compromises on either side. Newton divided space and time into absolute and relative space and time. The former with divine attributes as eternity, omnipresence, immutability, infinity – in other words, the space and time of God. Thus, absolute space is associated with being, and not with matter, as it is for Descartes. It refers to the divine foundation of the world, and not to the "created" world. Matter is endowed with gravity - a property conceived by Newton as something non-material, as a sort of divine regulator of the universe. Thus Newton bridges the gap between God and the material world that was present in Descartes’ paradigm. Laplace would later qualify and describe Newton’s idea mathematically.

      Since Laplace’s theoretical and mathematical descriptions of the universe, the idea of plurality gradually started distancing itself from Christianity and its version of the formation of universe. Kant pointed out that the ways of evolution of planets are diverse and do not necessarily lead to the same results; that because of the diversity of the evolutionary pathways, there is no reason to assert that they all are inhabited; and that inhabited worlds appear at different times. Towards the end of the 19th century the British naturalist Alfred Wallace asserted that there were “good reasons to think that humans were the only and highest product of the vast Universe.” Meanwhile the French astronomer Camille Flammarion, who believed in the possible presence of other humanities in the universe, had to admit pessimistically that the idea of plurality was incompatible with Christian doctrine.