Nicholas of Cusa on Rational Perception

Bulletin de Philosophie Medievale 59:177-213 (2017)
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Abstract

Despite being one of the major figures in late medieval thought and being the subject of numerous studies, certain topics concerning the Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa remain in need of further investigation. One of these is an aspect of his theory of cognition: his account of sense perception. It is our aim in this study to systematically look at his scattered remarks on the topic and make a number of suggestions as to the nature of his thought on how we come to know external things. It is not our purpose to offer a comprehensive account of his theory of cognition. Our focus in this article is on his account of perception and the specific claim that Nicholas develops a model whereby reason operates together with the senses in perceptual experience. Despite being tentative our claim is grounded on suggestions found in the scholarship on Cusanus; but these suggestions remain quite vague and in need of exploration. In this article, we closely examine the textual evidence and develop our claim based o...

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