The transition from the natural philosophies of the Renaissance to seventeenth-century physics was marked by an epistemological shift. On the one hand, Renaissance natural philosophers and scientists assumed that a certain degree of imperfection in the natural phenomena is necessary. In fact, according to Cusanus’s expressions in De docta ignorantia, formal necessitas and material possibilitas are combined in nature through a dynamical nexus, in agreement with what we will designate as the “principle of contingency of Renaissance natural philosophy”. This principle of “insufficient reason” underlies the outlook of an entire epoch, as is witnessed by philosophies of nature close to that of Cusanus, for instance by Giordano Bruno. On the other hand, late seventeenth-century physics became dominated by the idea of a necessary connection of the phenomena. Accordingly, any natural phenomenon was understandable in the light of the principle of sufficient reason. In this paper, we intend to focus on Cusanus’s natural philosophy and conception of mathematics in order to show how this transition form a contingent to a necessary conception of natural phenomena emerged.

Contingent Matemathics of Nature in the Renaissance: Cusanus’ Perspective

Rodolfo Garau;Pietro Omodeo Pietro omodeo
2019

Abstract

The transition from the natural philosophies of the Renaissance to seventeenth-century physics was marked by an epistemological shift. On the one hand, Renaissance natural philosophers and scientists assumed that a certain degree of imperfection in the natural phenomena is necessary. In fact, according to Cusanus’s expressions in De docta ignorantia, formal necessitas and material possibilitas are combined in nature through a dynamical nexus, in agreement with what we will designate as the “principle of contingency of Renaissance natural philosophy”. This principle of “insufficient reason” underlies the outlook of an entire epoch, as is witnessed by philosophies of nature close to that of Cusanus, for instance by Giordano Bruno. On the other hand, late seventeenth-century physics became dominated by the idea of a necessary connection of the phenomena. Accordingly, any natural phenomenon was understandable in the light of the principle of sufficient reason. In this paper, we intend to focus on Cusanus’s natural philosophy and conception of mathematics in order to show how this transition form a contingent to a necessary conception of natural phenomena emerged.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3743079
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