Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464): Platonism at the Dawn of Modernity
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Although Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464), or ‘Cusanus’, is still largely ignored in English-language histories of medieval philosophy, this papal diplomat, eventually cardinal, eclectic, humanist scholar and ardent Neoplatonist was one of the greatest intellects of the fifteenth century. Primarily because of his dialectical reflections on the nature of the infinite, including speculations about the nature of the cosmos, he has been called the ‘gatekeeper’ of the modern age.3 This towering and ambiguous thinker was not an isolated intellectual, indeed, he engaged in vigorous debates especially on matters to do with reconciliation between various Church groupings and even rival faiths (Christianity and Islam). Furthermore, although in some respects he clearly follows on from Meister Eckhart (and Thierry of Chartres), and subsequently influenced Giordano Bruno, Copernicus (who also studied at the University of Padua), and, albeit tangentially, René Descartes, he has no clearly identifiable intellectual precursor or successor.
KeywordsModern Philosophy Fifteenth Century Infinite Line Negative Theology Medieval Philosophy
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