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On The Heavens   

the art of earth at the centre, the question remains, why now do all

heavy bodies move to the earth. For the whirl surely does not come

near us. Why, again, does fire move upward? Not, surely, because of

the whirl. But if fire is naturally such as to move in a certain

direction, clearly the same may be supposed to hold of earth. Again,

it cannot be the whirl which determines the heavy and the light.

Rather that movement caused the pre-existent heavy and light things to

go to the middle and stay on the surface respectively. Thus, before

ever the whirl began, heavy and light existed; and what can have

been the ground of their distinction, or the manner and direction of

their natural movements? In the infinite chaos there can have been

neither above nor below, and it is by these that heavy and light are


It is to these causes that most writers pay attention: but there are

some, Anaximander, for instance, among the ancients, who say that

the earth keeps its place because of its indifference. Motion upward

and downward and sideways were all, they thought, equally

inappropriate to that which is set at the centre and indifferently

related to every extreme point; and to move in contrary directions

at the same time was impossible: so it must needs remain still. This

view is ingenious but not true. The argument would prove that

everything, whatever it be, which is put at the centre, must stay

there. Fire, then, will rest at the centre: for the proof turns on

no peculiar property of earth. But this does not follow. The

observed facts about earth are not only that it remains at the centre,

but also that it moves to the centre. The place to which any

fragment of earth moves must necessarily be the place to which the

whole moves; and in the place to which a thing naturally moves, it

will naturally rest. The reason then is not in the fact that the earth

is indifferently related to every extreme point: for this would

apply to any body, whereas movement to the centre is peculiar to

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