Johnson, Christopher D.: Beyond Analogy and Contingency: Giordano Bruno’s Infinity of Worlds, in König, Peter und Schlaudt, Oliver (Hrsg.): Kosmos: Vom Umgang mit der Welt zwischen Ausdruck und Ordnung, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2023, S. 197–214. https://doi.org/10.17885/heiup.857.c15257

Identifier (Buch)

ISBN 978-3-96822-093-2 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-96822-094-9 (Hardcover)




Christopher D. Johnson

Beyond Analogy and Contingency: Giordano Bruno’s Infinity of Worlds

Abstract In the wake of Copernicus, the Italian philosopher and cos­mologist Giordano Bruno (1548–1600) posits an infinite cosmos and an infinite number of worlds on the basis largely of arguments from suffi­cient reason, or that God, given his nature, could not have done other­wise. Bruno’s infinite cosmos, then, is not contingent, but unfolds by ne­cessity. Further, this essay argues, instead of relying on analogy like most Renaissance cosmographers, Bruno embraces paradox, or the coincidence of opposites, to reconcile the extremely large and small in the universe. What results is a radically immanent, organicist, pantheistic, and decid­edly non-Christocentric cosmos. Such a cosmos, Ernst Cassirer argues, is the supreme instance of ethical self-consciousness in Renaissance philos­ophy. In this manner, Bruno makes cosmological infinity emblemize the very freedom of thought that the Catholic Church wished to deny him.

Keywords Giordano Bruno; cosmos; infinity; analogy; contingency