Advertisement

Giordano Bruno’s Concept of Space: Cosmological and Theological Aspects

  • Miguel Á. GranadaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 48)

Abstract

Bruno’s concept of space remains constant throughout his entire work. Its main tenets are: (1) the rejection of Aristotle’s concept of ‘place’ as an accident of bodily substance and the ensuing notion of ‘natural places;’ (2) the notion of space as an infinite, homogeneous receptacle of matter; and (3) the idea that void, though conceptually prior to matter, is always and everywhere filled with matter. Edward Grant (in his masterful Much Ado About Nothing, Cambridge, 1981) argued that “the consequences of Bruno’s description of space and the properties he assigned it lead inevitably to an infinite space that is coeternal with but wholly independent of God.” In the present chapter I show that Grant’s conclusion is incompatible with the foundations of Bruno’s ontology. De immenso and Lampas triginta statuarum allow us to establish Bruno’s true concept of the relation between God and space in accordance with the doctrine of the six ‘infigurable’ primary principles distributed in two triads: Mind or Father-Intellect-Spirit; and Chaos or Void-Orcus or Privation-Night or Matter. Both triads represent, in accordance with the ontology of De la causa, the two (non hierarchized) aspects of God’s essence as a coincidence of opposites: potency and act, matter and form, void space and mind. As a consequence, since God is space and matter no less than mind and form, we can confidently say that Bruno – relying on Biblical passages describing God as unity of contradictories – had already gone as far as Spinoza in conflating God, extension, matter, and space.

References

  1. Alessandrelli, Michele. 2014. Aspects and Problems of Chrysippus’ Conception of Space. In Space in Hellenistic Philosophy, ed. Graziano Ranocchia, Christoph Helmig, and Christoph Horn, 53–67. Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  2. Algra, Keimpe. 1995. Concepts of Space in Greek Thought. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  3. Amato, Barbara. 2006. Spazio. In Enciclopedia Bruniana e Campanelliana, ed. Eugenio Canone and Germana Ernst, vol. I, 151–165. Pisa/Rome: Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali.Google Scholar
  4. Aristotle. 1924. Aristotle’s Metaphysics, a Revised Text with Introduction and Commentary, ed. and trans. William D. Ross. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 1939. On the Heavens(Loeb Classical Library 338), trans. William K.C. Guthrie. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1985. The complete works of Aristotle, ed. Jonathan Barnes, vol. 2. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Blumenberg, Hans. 1976. Aspekte der Epochenschwelle: Cusaner und Nolaner. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  8. Bruno, Giordano. 1879. Opera latine conscripta, vol. I, 1–2, ed. Francesco Fiorentino. Naples/Florence: Morano/Le Monnier.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1968. On the Infinite Universe and Worlds. In Dorothea Waley Singer. Giordano Bruno: His Life and Thought, with Annotated Translation of His WorkOn the Infinite Universe and Worlds. New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1998. Cause, Principle and Unity, ed. and trans. Robert De Lucca. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 2000a. Opere magiche, ed. Simonetta Bassi, Elisabetta Scapparone, and Nicoletta Tirinnanzi. Milan: Adelphi.Google Scholar
  12. ———. 2000b. Lampas triginta statuarum. In Bruno 2000a.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 2006. De l’infinito. In Opere complete/Oeuvres complètes, vol. IV: De l’infinito, universo e mondi, ed. Giovanni Aquilecchia, 2nd ed. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 2009. Acrotismo Camoeracense: Le spiegazioni degli articoli di fisica contro i peripatetici, ed. Barbara Amato. Pisa/Rome: Fabrizio Serra Editore.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2016. De la causa. In Opere Complete/Oeuvres Complètes, vol. III: De la causa, principio et uno, ed. Giovanni Aquilecchia, 2nd ed. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.Google Scholar
  16. Cornford, Francis Macdonald. 1935. Plato’s Cosmology: TheTimaeus of Plato. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Courtenay, William J. 1990. Capacity and Volition: A History of the Distinction of Absolute and Ordained Power. Bergamo: Pier Luigi Lubrina.Google Scholar
  18. Del Prete, Antonella. 2003. L’ “attiva potenza dell’efficiente” et l’univers infini: Giordano Bruno à propos de l’oisiveté de Dieu. In Mondes, formes et société selon Giordano Bruno, ed. Tristan Dagron and Hélène Védrine, 113–131. Paris: Vrin.Google Scholar
  19. ———. 2016. La relation entre Dieu et l’univers chez Giordano Bruno. In Giordano Bruno: Une philosophie des liens et de la relation, ed. Antonella Del Prete and Thomas Bern, 19–34. Brussels: Éditions de l’Université de Bruxelles.Google Scholar
  20. Duhem, Pierre. 1913–1958. Le système du monde. Paris: Hermann.Google Scholar
  21. Fantechi, Elisa. 2006. Tra Aristotele e Lucrezio: La concezione dello spazio nella teoria cosmologica di Giordano Bruno. Rinascimento, s. II, 46: 557–583.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 2007. La posizione sulla Trinità e la riflessione metafisica di Bruno. In Favole, metafore, storie: Seminario su Giordano Bruno, ed. Olivia Catanorchi and Diego Pirillo, 387–406. Pisa: Edizioni della Normale.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 2014a. Spacio. In Giordano Bruno: Parole, concetti, immagini, ed. Michele Ciliberto, 1833–1836. Pisa: Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento-Edizioni della Normale.Google Scholar
  24. ———. 2014b. Vacuo. In Giordano Bruno: Parole, concetti, immagini, ed. Michele Ciliberto, 2013–2016. Pisa: Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento-Edizioni della Normale.Google Scholar
  25. Fraenkel, Carlos. 2006. Maimonides’ God and Spinoza’s Deus sive natura. Journal of the History of Philosophy 44: 169–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Granada, Miguel Ángel. 1994. Il rifiuto della distinzione fra potentia absoluta e potentia ordinata di Dio e l’affermazione dell’universo infinito in Giordano Bruno. Rivista di Storia della Filosofia 49: 495–532.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 2002. “Blasphemia vero est facere Deum alium a Deo:” La polemica di Bruno con l’aristotelismo a proposito della potenza di Dio. In Letture bruniane I.II del Lessico Intellettuale Europeo 1996–1997, ed. Eugenio Canone, 151–188. Pisa/Rome: Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali.Google Scholar
  28. ———. 2007. New Visions of the Cosmos. In The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Philosophy, ed. James Hankins, 270–286. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. ———. 2010. Synodus ex mundis. In Enciclopedia Bruniana & Campanelliana, ed. Eugenio Canone and Germana Ernst, vol. II, 142–154. Pisa/Rome: Fabrizio Serra Editore.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2013. De immenso, i, 1-3 and the Concept of Planetary Systems in the Infinite Universe: A Commentary. In Turning Traditions Upside Down: Rethinking Giordano Bruno’s Enlightenment, ed. Henning Hufnagel and Anne Eusterschulte, 91–105. Budapest/New York: Central European University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Grant, Edward. 1981. Much Ado About Nothing: Theories of Space and Vacuum from the Middle Ages to the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Harvey, Warren Zev. 1981. A Portrait of Spinoza as a Maimonidean. Journal of the History of Philosophy 19: 151–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Henry, John. 1979. Francesco Patrizi da Cherso’s Concept of Space and its Later Influence. Annals of Science 36: 549–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Konstan, David. 1972. Epicurus on “Up” and “Down” (Letter to Herodotus § 60). Phronesis 17: 269–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Koyré, Alexandre. 1957. From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Lovejoy, Arthur Oncken. 1936. The Great Chain of Being: A Study in the History of an Idea. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Maimon, Salomon. 1999. Commentaires de Maïmonide, ed. and trans. Maurice-Ruben Hayoun. Paris: Cerf.Google Scholar
  38. Maimonides, Moses. 1520. Dux seu Director dubitantium aut perplexorum, ed. Augustinus Iustinianus. Paris: Jodocus Badius.Google Scholar
  39. ———. 1963. The Guide of the Perplexed, trans. Shlomo Pines. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Pépin, Jean. 1953. Recherches sur le sens et les origines de l’expression caelum caeli dans le livre XII des Confessions de Saint Augustin. Archivium Latinitatis Medii Aevi 23: 185–274.Google Scholar
  41. Philoponus, John. 1991. Corollaries on Place and Void, trans. David Furley, with Simplicius, Against Philoponus on the Eternity of the World, trans. Christian Wildberg. In Ancient Commentators on Aristotle, ed. Richard Sorabji. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  42. Pines, Shlomo. 1996. Some Distinctive Metaphysical Conceptions in Themistius’ Commentary on Book Lambda and their Place in the History of Philosophy. In The Collected Works of Shlomo Pines, vol III: Studies in the History of Arabic Philosophy, ed. Sarah Stroumsa, 177–204. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press.Google Scholar
  43. Scapparone, Elisabetta. 2008. “Nella simplicità della divina essenza:” Giordano Bruno sugli attributi di Dio. Rinascimento 48: 351–373.Google Scholar
  44. Schmitt, Charles Bernard. 1967. Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola (1469–1533) and his Critique of Aristotle. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schuhmann, Karl. 1992. Le concept de l’espace chez Telesio. In Bernardino Telesio e la cultura napoletana, ed. Raffaele Sirri and Maurizio Torrini, 141–167. Naples: Guida.Google Scholar
  46. Sedley, David. 1987. Philoponus’ Conception of Space. In Philoponus and the Rejection of Aristotelian Science, ed. Richard Sorabji, 140–153. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Spinoza, Baruch. 1925. Ethica. In Opera, ed. Carl Gebhardt, vol. II. Heidelberg: Carl Winter.Google Scholar
  48. Tirinnanzi, Nicoletta. 2013a. La composizione della Lampas triginta statuarum. In Nicoletta Tirinnanzi, L’antro del filosofo: Studi su Giordano Bruno, ed. Elisabetta Scapparone, 337–356. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura.Google Scholar
  49. ———. 2013b. Il nocchiero e la nave. Forme della revisione autoriale nella seconda redazione della Lampas triginta statuarum. In Nicoletta Tirinnanzi, L’antro del filosofo: Studi su Giordano Bruno, ed. Elisabetta Scapparone, 357–376. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura.Google Scholar
  50. Wolfson, Harry Austryn. 1929. Crescas’ Critique of Aristotle: Problems of Aristotle’s Physics in Jewish and Arabic Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations