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Tyrone Lai



Nicholas of Cusa and the Finite Universe






A number of authors--from Kepler to Koyre--have held the view that the universe as Nicholas of Cusa thinks of it is infinite.  Recent authors, however, are careful to point out that it is not clear in what sense Cusanus thinks of the universe as infinite.  It is shown in this paper that Cusanus thinks of the universe as infinite only in the sense that God has the power of creating a universe greater than the present one, but the present universe is finite, and according to Nicholas of Cusa necessarily so, even though beyond the universe there is nothing else, that is, nothing material.  If Cusanus was instrumental in re-introducing the idea of an infinite universe (as later authors understood it), it would seem it was not what he intended.

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