Cusanus: Definitio als Selbstbestimmung

Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch Fur Antike Und Mittelalter 4 (1):153–177 (1999)
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Abstract

Cusanus, Abstract As a rule Cusanus is interpreted in a theological way, under strong theological presuppositions and within the range of religion. This may be quite understandable since he was a cardinal and had important functions in the Papal States. But, what are the results, when we read his texts under pure philosophical conditions? We may see then that some of his texts are meant neither to assert a belief nor to search for reasons for it, but only to reflect upon the presuppositions of this belief and its different traditions. Instead of asserting his belief Cusanus is beginning to reflect upon his presupositions. We try to give an exemple for this shift with the first proposition in the collection of propositions that follow the dialog De non aliud: „definitio quae se et omnia definit, ea est, quae per omnem mentem quaeritur.“ We will see a quite another Cusanus. Cusanus picks up „definitio“ in the sense of self-determination, developped in the dialog. He begins in quite a traditional manner and ends in a supremely abstract and speculative intuition. The 'Not-other' determines itself in a vision; this vision is an order in which every thing gets its proper place; we as human beings aspire to repeat this vision in our mental life in contact with the world. In this way Cusanus does what all great philosophers do: he reflects in a given set of opinions what is the meaning of „to be“.

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