Unity and Reform: Selected Writings

Unity and Reform: Selected Writings

Unity and Reform: Selected Writings

Unity and Reform: Selected Writings

Excerpt

The revival of an interest in Nicholas of Cusa, a man who perhaps more than any other in his century perceived the changing relationship between the individual and the community, between medieval man and the expanding universe of the Renaissance, has marked the beginning of one of the most startling studies in the history of ideas. Even the vast periphery of his scientific and philosophical achievements astounds the modern reader. As a philosopher, astronomer, physicist, and humanist he represents medieval man already plunged into the social, economic, and religious flux that was the fifteenth century. As metaphysician he perfected an intellectual system whose profundity and subtlety provides a unique relationship to both the philosophy of the Middle Ages and that of modern times. His emphasis on the quantitative rather than the qualitative, on the transrational rather than the rational, marks him as a pioneer in the break-through that was to produce the prevailing ideologies of man in the Western world. As an astronomer he anticipated to a certain extent the discoveries of Copernicus and set the stage for the tremendous reappraisal of the universe that was to culminate in the discoveries of Kepler and Newton. Koyre has recently dampened some of the . . .

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