Who is Nicolaus Cusanus?June 26, 2021
German philosopher, also called Nicolas van Cuso.
He lived in the Mosel basin between 1401-1464. In addition to philosophy, he also had a say in mathematics and theology.
He destroyed Aristotle’s hierarchical understanding of cosmology, which was valid in the Middle Ages, and defended the view of the unity of the universe.
He is a writer of astronomy and logic who made great contributions to the Renaissance period. Also known as Nicholas of Cusa. He is also a religious man.
He is one of the philosophers of the Renaissance period. He grew up in Germany and later moved to Italy. although he could not move away from the views originating from the Middle Ages, there are very modern elements in his thought for his period. His philosophy is a combination of mystic, neo-Platonic and Pythagorean themes. Later he turned to omnitheism. Much later, he tried to reconcile this view, which identifies God with nature, with the theistic doctrine of Christianity.
He asserts that nature is a being that develops and is infinite. Before that, nature was now seen as a finite and stagnant entity that had completed its development.
He gives the following example of induction and the unity of opposites: a polygon with an infinite number of vertices resembles a circle at its extreme point. Again, when we go to infinity, the curve and the line are similar to each other at the extreme point. Applying these mathematical analogies to metaphysics, he concludes that the absolute minimum and the absolute maximum are the same in God.
Casinus establishes a synthesis by transcending opposites. He puts forward the idea that an observer on the moon will think that the earth is above, which is the period when the earth was still flat in the 1400s and you would fall from a point where you could not return to where you started if you set out with a ship.
Based on the fact that a top appears to be stationary when it spins very fast, he concludes that at infinity the stability and motion fall.
Nicolaus Cusanus was born in 1401. Some describe him as the last philosopher of the Middle Ages, while others see him as a genius who fused nominalism and Neoplatonism. It has often been asked whether Nicolaus Cusanus was the last of the ancients or the first of the moderns.
From 1416 Cusanus studied at the universities of Heidelberg, Cologne and Padua, respectively. He was appointed priest in 1426. He stayed in Istanbul for a while and made efforts to unite the Churches. In 1450 he was elected cardinal and ordained bishop of Brixen. He traveled in Germany. Many reformers took the initiative. He died in 1464. Nicolaus Cusanus produced works in many fields. But two of his works stand out in particular: De Concordantia Catholica (About the Harmony of Catholicism) and his most famous work, De Docta Ignorantia (About Learned Ignorance). Among his other works, De Visione Dei (About the Appearance of God) stands out as an important theological text.
Cusanus, in his work called De Docta Ignorantia, examines God’s relationship with the existence in the universe and whether this interest can be known. Under the influence of Socrates, Cusanus says that man must rise to the state of learned ignorance, knowing that he does not know. The work of learning ignorance is gradual, and its highest stage concerns the unlimited. The ordinary mind moves from the known to the unknown. It is easy to make an inference if the distance between the known, that is, the antecedent, and the unknown, that is, the conclusion, is small. But no matter how many steps are taken in the distance between man and the limitless, the limitless cannot be reached. Because the distance between the unlimited and our starting point is unlimited. Truth is an indivisible construct; but in order to obtain the truth, reason tries to divide the unlimited by establishing relations between the premises and the conclusions. God, the Absolute Limitless, transcends our understanding. This inadequacy is also a method problem. Because our mind is a discursive faculty and operates according to the principle of non-contradiction. But the principle of non-contradiction cannot be used to grasp God. Thus, God remains in his unity an incomprehensible Being. But according to Cusanus, God reveals himself in creation, and so we know positive things about him, at least as a Creator. Through these we can open the door to God. According to Cusanus, man is located between the angels and the physical world. The most important feature of man is that he contains both material, organic, animal and mental life. With this feature, the human being is like a microcosm. For a man to return to God, then, is the conversion of creation itself to God. Man was created in the image of God (imago Dei). According to Cusanus, man’s recognition of God, who is also his ultimate goal, takes place through the revelation of Jesus. There is harmony in the universe arising from the unity of contradictions. Although the universe does not have a boundary perimeter, it is not unlimited either. Since the universe has no limiting circumference, it has no centre. Earth moves like other celestial bodies. One of his most important determinations is that there is a relative relationship between movement and space for the viewer. Man is stretched from many different points and times.