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Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 28. März 2003

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Cited in Books for College Libraries, 3d ed. and considered a classic in its field, this volume by Ernst Cassirer (1874-1945) is a reprint of a book originally translated from German and published by Harper & Row, New York, 1963. It describes the interdependence of philosophy, language, art, and science in the thought of Renaissance thinkers Da Vin

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Ernst Cassirer (1874 1945)was a philosopher and historian of philosophy. He taught at Friedrich Wilhelm University and the University of Hamburg, where he was Leo Strauss s dissertation advisor, before fleeing Nazi Germany in 1933. In exile, he lectured at Oxford, Sweden s Gothenburg University, Yale, and Columbia. His better-known works include the three-volume "Philosophy of Symbolic Forms" and "The Myth of the State."" -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.


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Amazon.com: 4.3 von 5 Sternen 4 Rezensionen
2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Not only a great book but a great example of how this sort of work should be written 1. Januar 2014
Von Rossharmonics - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I am a great admirer of Ernst Cassirer. He is an underrated 20th century philosopher. His style tends to be so much more straightforward than many of his contemporaries. This belies how deep what he says is. In this book, he brings together a vast amount of knowledge and understanding of Renaissance philosophy and gets right to the heart of the matter. He obviously cares about the subjects he takes up. Like Riceour, he gives a clear explication of others' ideas without it feeling like mere reporting. He appreciates what each person uniquely contributed while giving a clear sense of why it still matters. Again, like Riceour, Cassirer discusses others' ideas in such a way that they are fairly presented, interest in what they contributed is kindled, and all these ideas are then made part of a larger picture that is being revealed.

Cassirer himself later felt he may have overplayed his hand in discussing the influence of Nicholas Cusanus on later Renaissance thinkers. However, it still helps him delineate themes that allows him to create a narrative of ideas that shaped Renaissance thought and action. A key to this is the complementary roles of artistic creation and scientific observation, which were seen as being two sides of the true spirit of the Renaissance conception of a philosopher. For them being an artist was part of being a philosopher and vice versa.

Ultimately, Cassirer helps the reader to share in his enthusiasm for this period and lnead the reader in comimg away with a greater interest in what this period still has to offer.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Important 17. Juli 2010
Von R. Albin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This short but rich book is a very interesting study by the great historian of philosophy Ernst Cassirer. Cassirer believed that the philosophy of a period encapsulated the essential features of that period. In the case of the Renaissance, prior scholars, including the pioneering Jacob Burkhardt, found study of philosophy less useful for understanding the Renaissance. Csssirer argues that these pioneers looked in the wrong place, suggesting that developments in theology, as opposed to philosophy per se, are crucial for understanding the mind of the Renaissance. Cassirer concentrates initially on the thought of the polymath Nicholas of Cusa (Cusanus), demonstrating that Cusanus' theology emphasized individual human capacities, an individual human relationship to God, and the importance of reason in understanding the Universe. Cassirer follows these themes through the work of a number of important thinkers, including the Florentine Platonists, Bruno, Leonardo, and Galileo. Additional themes are the importance of the revival of Platonism, as opposed to Hellenistic Neo-Platonism, the somewhat transitional role of the concepts of magic, the increasing importance of mathematics, and the series of assaults on Aristotle's system. Cassirer does particularly well in discussing the relationship between ideas of aesthetic creativity, human capacity, and emerging scientific thought. The discussions of the metaphysical underpinnings of physical science are particularly illuminating.

This is a remarkably erudite book but a bit difficult to read. The translation is fluent but Cassirer wrote at a time when scholars were assumed to know Latin and Greek. There are multiple quotations from the original Latin and Greek in the text and these are not translated. Cassirer's careful analysis and use of a vocabulary derived, I think, from German idealist philosophy, is sometimes difficult to follow. Nonetheless, this book repays re-reading.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Thick reading, but mind expanding 30. März 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This book is definitely not an easy read. But those who are seriously interested in philosophical history will find this book educational. Ernst Cassirer (1874-1945) is most noted for his books concerning historical philosophy and his accomplishments as a professor of such Universities as Hamburg, Yale, California, and Göteborg. Next to Burckhardt, Cassirer's work is considered by many to be the landmark in the history of Renaissance thought. The Renaissance, according to Cassirer, is a time of philosophical rebirth. Medieval thinkers evaluated and understood things of this world through a transcendence that always led up to God. Renaissance thought, on the other hand, tried to understand the intelligible through sense and reason, but all the while maintaining the idea of God. Thus, the Renaissance arguably represents the first step in modern scientific thought; moreover, the innovative thinkers of the 14th and 15th centuries paved the way for the Reformation. At the beginning of the 1300's, a new life in the liberal arts begins to occur - a movement or `spiritual renewal,' as Cassirer calls it. Major scholars such as Petrarch begin to question Medieval thought and scholasticism, a philosophical principle that used the mystical and intuitional methods of Augustine and Aristotle. Cassirer uses the ideas and doctrines of the religious humanist Nicholas Cusanus as the hallmark of Renaissance philosophy. In fact, the majority of the book concentrates on Cusanus, who Cassirer considers the most influential and greatest philosopher of that epoch. The cosmos according to Cusanus places God in the center of the world, therefore allowing each individual being to have an intimate and close relationship with God. Cassirer's parable of the Tegernsee Monks and the self-portrait of Rogier van der Weyden is a perfect allegory of Cusanus' theory. Later, during the Reformation, the Catholic Church had to abandon the thoughts of Cusanus because it placed too much emphasis on the individual. He believed God created man, but also gave us the power of intellect, which has an autonomous sphere of thinking that gives everything value. The greatest accomplishment of Cusanus is his creation of balance between ancient humanism and medieval religiosity. In the "De docta ignorantia," Cusanus explains how the universe is divided between the infinite (eternal) and the finite (worldly). The connecting link or `bracket of the world' that embraces the finite and infinite is Christ. But only through the individual salvation can the unification of the cosmos occur, so the importance of man and humanity without mediators such as the church and pope is stressed. Therefore, redemption is not seen as leaving an inferior world behind like in medieval thought, but instead the salvation of one's soul is what forms the cosmos. Cassirer's book effectively proves how the Renaissance was a time of revolutionary thought as compared to medieval times. However, it seems the author may have overestimated the power and influence that Cusanus had on Renaissance philosophy. This concentration on Cusanus' religious philosophy serves as a great foreshadowing of the Reformation, but more detail should have been given to the social and intellectual aspects which Cassirer did touch on briefly in chapter four.
19 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The place to begin 2. September 2002
Von Ronald Levao - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This is the book for anyone curious about intellectual history, the history of ideas, Renaissance studies, etc. Despite its often-discussed excesses and omissions, it remains the most exciting book available on Renaissance philosophy for the way it comes to terms with the eccentric complexity and imaginative power of Cusanus and later Neoplatonists (whether or not Nicholas influenced Ficino, et al.). The book is densely written, but not as difficult as the previous reviewer suggests; Domandi's translation nicely captures Cassirer's sense of the drama of ideas, of the birth of subjectivity as the mind posits "its own fixed points" rather than relying on stable, objective hierarchies. True, there is little on social (or economic) contexts, but those kinds of approaches are readily found among more recent historians, and those hungering for wider contexts can look at Biechler's book on Cusanus, or Braden and Kerrigan's Idea of the Renaissance, or any of William Bouwsma's or Anthony Grafton's wonderful books on Renaissance thought. But to get inside the actual motions and metaphors of Renaissance thought, Cassirer's the place to begin, and to keep enjoying. No one does it better!
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