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Lógos and Máthēma 2

Studies in the Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics


Roman Murawski

The volume consists of thirteen papers devoted to various problems of the philosophy of logic and mathematics. They can be divided into two groups. The first group contains papers devoted to some general problems of the philosophy of mathematics whereas the second group – papers devoted to the history of logic in Poland and to the work of Polish logicians and math-ematicians in the philosophy of mathematics and logic. Among considered problems are: meaning of reverse mathematics, proof in mathematics, the status of Church’s Thesis, phenomenology in the philosophy of mathematics, mathematics vs. theology, the problem of truth, philosophy of logic and mathematics in the interwar Poland.
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Between Theology and Mathematics. Nicholas of Cusa’s Philosophy of Mathematics

Between Theology and Mathematics. Nicholas of Cusa’s Philosophy of Mathematics


The aim of this chapter is to indicate the influence of theological and philosophical ideas on the philosophy of mathematics of Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464). He was a mathematician but first of all a theologian. In fact the connections between theology and philosophy on the one side and mathematics on the other were in his case bilateral. He used mathematical language in explaining theological ideas and vice versa – some ideas and concepts coming from theology and philosophy were used by him to express his conceptions concerning philosophical questions and problems of mathematics. In this chapter we shall concentrate only on the second issue and try to show how some theological ideas were used by him to answer fundamental questions in the philosophy of mathematics.

Before we consider Nicholas’ philosophy of mathematics, let us say some words about his life and activity.

He was born as Nicholas Kryffs or Krebs in Kues, now Bernkastel- Kues, about 30 km from Trier, an old town in the Palatinate, founded already by the Romans. Following the usual practice in a Latin speaking church environment, his name often appears as Nikolaus Cusanus, from the Latin name of the town. He was sent to Deventer, in the Netherlands where he probably attended a school of Brothers of Common Life, a Roman Catholic religious community founded in the 14th century.They influenced him with a mixture of mysticism and reason. In 1416Nicholas matriculated at the University of Heidelberg where he studied liberal arts,...

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