Models and Precision: The Quality of Ptolemy’s Observations and Parameters
John P. Britton
This work, originally published in 1992, addresses the ancient and widely held view that Ptolemy was an inferior practical astronomer who manipulated the observations to fit his models. Examining the solar and lunar observations found in Almagest and the parameters of the models ostensibly derived from them, it finds scant evidence to support this view. Ptolemy’s lunar observations are no less accurate than those of his predecessors, and the individual errors of the lunar observations are as a whole consistent with what we would expect from naked eye observations.
This collection of 12 essays published originally in 1991 is devoted to the general question of science and its relation to, and interaction with, philosophy in the Greek world during the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Thus, the papers address issues concerning the origins and explanatory structure of science, as well as problems peculiar to the mathematical sciences (arithmetic, geometry, harmonics, astronomy) and to natural history and medicine. The contributors include: Andrew D. Barker, J. L. Berggren, Alan C. Bowen, David H. Fowler, Charles H. Kahn, Wilbur R. Knorr, James G.