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The Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy

The Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy

By Ernst Cassirer

Translated with an Introduction by Mario Domandi

216 pp

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About the Book

The Individual and the Cosmos has long been regarded as a classic in its field. Ernst Cassirer here examines the interdependence of philosophy, language, art, and science, along with the great thinkers of the period—from Leonardo and Galileo to Pico della Mirandola and Giordano Bruno.


“This book is in some ways a landmark in the history of Renaissance thought, corresponding to Burckhardt. It is a work of great significance for the determination of how the Renaissance spirit fundamentally questioned and undermined Medieval thought. Because of his acquaintance with the Enlightenment and because of his own constructive philosophical work, Cassirer is able to put the Renaissance into perspective in relation to the Reformation and the Middle Ages.”


The Individual and the Cosmos is probably the most important single interpretive work on the philosophical thought of the Renaissance. None of the several European and American scholars who have made important contributions in this field has gone as far as Cassirer in penetrating the underlying conceptions of the period.”


“Cassirer’s volume is a classic … it is the most significant of the German works on the Renaissance produced in the last generation. This English version should be widely used by students of the various literatures, of political theory, of the history of religion and Reformation thought, and of the history of science, as well as by those concerned with intellectual history in general.”


“Cassirer’s The Individual and the Cosmos is, perhaps next to his Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, his most significant scholarly achievement. It is an evaluation of the significance of Renaissance thinking in the history of philosophy and is of no less interest to philosophers than to historians.”


About the Author

Ernst Cassirer (1874–1945) was a philosopher and historian of philosophy. He taught at Friedrich Wilhelm University and the University of Hamburg, where he was Leo Strauss’s dissertation advisor, before fleeing Nazi Germany in 1933. In exile, he lectured at Oxford, Sweden’s Gothenburg University, Yale, and Columbia. His better-known works include the three-volume Philosophy of Symbolic Forms and The Myth of the State.

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