Or else they are like the mind as it seeks mastery over the moving parts of its own body; or like a craftsman who does the best he can with whatever raw materials are available.
The most influential thinker who had the most convincing notions of cosmology before Copernicus was Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). Aristotelian assumptions about place, space, matter, motion, and time served as the foundation for the Ptolemaic system, which dominated in the West for more than a thousand years. The plainness and unstrained authoritativeness of Aristotle's style may give us a glimpse into the sources, both rhetorical and philosophical, of his authority (Ross, 1930).
Proposing the geocentric model of the universe, Aristotle focused his study on the earth's position, shape, and rest or motion as the center of the universe. His discussion by no means operates in a philosophical vacuum, but accounts briefly for other views in competition with his own. The line of argument is instructive for any who have imbibed the old clich, according to which geocentric cosmology is "said to locate the earth in the place of greatest importance in the universe."
In Aristotle's geocentric model of the universe, each planet was attached to a transparent sphere of its own, and all spheres were turning round the earth. ...