A Primer on Giordano Bruno

Philosophy Research Archives 9:303-336 (1983)
Abstract
In a rather obscure moment in James Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Dedalus enters into a conversation with an equally obscure character named Ghezzi. The conversation concerns the Nolan, Giordano Bruno. Ghezzi recalls that Bruno was a “terrible heretic,” and expresses “some sorrow” that he was burned at the stake.For the history of philosophy, there may similarly be “some sorrow” that little more is known about Bruno than that which is contained in Joyce’s reference. He certainly has not come to be viewed as being as important as Galileo or Copernicus, and all things considered, probably is not. However, the views ahout an infinite universe which they expounded with no little fear and intimidation, Bruno bullishly popularized.From time to time, historians of philosophy will touch base with Bruno, recall his ideological martyrdom, and again try to interpret some of his odd speculations. This article attempts to serve two functions in this regard. First, it acts as a basic primer on Bruno for those who may not be especially aware of his contribution to the history of Western philosophy. Then, for those well-versed in philosophy, it acts as a review of Bruno based on some of the latest materials that have been written on his life and thought
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