|Original title||Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels|
Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (German : Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels), subtitled or an Attempt to Account for the Constitutional and Mechanical Origin of the Universe upon Newtonian Principles, is a work written and published anonymously by Immanuel Kant in 1755.
According to Kant, the Solar System is merely a smaller version of the fixed star systems, such as the Milky Way and other galaxies. The cosmogony that Kant proposes is closer to today's accepted ideas than that of some of his contemporary thinkers such as Pierre-Simon Laplace. Moreover, Kant's thought in this volume is strongly influenced by atomist theory, in addition to the ideas of Lucretius.
Kant won the Berlin Academy Prize in 1754 for his argument that the Moon's gravity would eventually cause its tidal locking to coincide with the Earth's rotation. The next year, he expanded this reasoning to the formation and evolution of the Solar System in the Universal Natural History.
Within the work Kant quotes Pierre Louis Maupertuis, who discusses six bright celestial objects listed by Edmond Halley, including Andromeda. Most of these are nebulae, but Maupertuis notes that about one-fourth of them are collections of stars—accompanied by white glows which they would be unable to cause on their own. Halley points to light created before the birth of the Sun, while William Derham "compares them to openings through which shines another immeasurable region and perhaps the fire of heaven." He also observed that the collections of stars were much more distant than stars observed around them. Johannes Hevelius noted that the bright spots were massive and were flattened by a rotating motion; they are in fact galaxies.
Kant's book ends with an almost mystical expression of appreciation for nature: "In the universal silence of nature and in the calm of the senses the immortal spirit’s hidden faculty of knowledge speaks an ineffable language and gives [us] undeveloped concepts, which are indeed felt, but do not let themselves be described."
The first English translation of the work was done by the Scottish theologian William Hastie, in 1900.Other English translations include those by Stanley Jaki and Ian Johnston.
In his introduction to the English translation of Kant's book, Stanley Jaki criticises Kant for being a poor mathematician and downplays the relevance of his contribution to science. However, such criticisms are on the whole unfair, as they are blaming Kant for not knowing about 20th-century developments.
A galaxy is a gravitationally bound system of stars, stellar remnants, interstellar gas, dust, and dark matter. The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias (γαλαξίας), literally "milky", a reference to the Milky Way. Galaxies range in size from dwarfs with just a few hundred million stars to giants with one hundred trillion stars, each orbiting its galaxy's center of mass.
Immanuel Kant was an influential Prussian German philosopher in the Age of Enlightenment. In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, he argued that space, time, and causation are mere sensibilities; "things-in-themselves" exist, but their nature is unknowable. In his view, the mind shapes and structures experience, with all human experience sharing certain structural features. He drew a parallel to the Copernican revolution in his proposition that worldly objects can be intuited a priori ('beforehand'), and that intuition is therefore independent from objective reality. Kant believed that reason is the source of morality, and that aesthetics arise from a faculty of disinterested judgment. Kant's views continue to have a major influence on contemporary philosophy, especially the fields of epistemology, ethics, political theory, and post-modern aesthetics.
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Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis was a French mathematician, philosopher and man of letters. He became the Director of the Académie des Sciences, and the first President of the Prussian Academy of Science, at the invitation of Frederick the Great.
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The year 1755 in science and technology involved some significant events.
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Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason is a 1793 book by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Although its purpose and original intent has become a matter of some dispute, the book's immense and lasting influence on the history of theology and the philosophy of religion is indisputable. It consists of four parts, called "Pieces" (Stücke), originally written as a series of four journal articles. He strongly criticises ritual, superstition and a church hierarchy in this work.
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