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As monumental as it was with respect to man’s view of the solar system, his perception of his place in the universe, and his relation to God, the Copernican theory did not structurally differ from Ptolemy’s theory. Thus, the Sixteenth Century ended with no significant change in the structure of scientific knowledge or its causal basis, which had been in place for approximately 2000 years. On the other hand, beginning with Kepler’s laws, Bacon’s experimental method, and Galileo’s mathematical epistemology, the Seventeenth Century produced a radical break with the past, its greatest achievement being Newtonian science based on general relational laws that applied to phenomena without requiring reference to strictly physical categories.
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