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12. Unbounding Society

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Chapter Summary

The intellectual ambience of the Enlightenment was informed of the idea of the infinite perfectibility of humans and of a demand to shape society so as to accommodate that belief. For Johannes Kepler, as for the classical Greeks, an infinite world was of necessity formless and static, and hence, from Kepler’s point of view, incompatible with the Christian confession of human destiny. During the eighteenth century mathematical knowledge grew relatively slowly. The clockwork universe was in motion and changing, but its structure was as permanent as divine laws. One way to solve the epistemic problem of change and permanence in the nature of time is to concentrate on permanence. Finally, Immanuel Kant for his synthesis of time, infinity, and the world is presented.

Keywords: Christian confession; classical Greeks; clockwork universe; human destiny; Kantian synthesis; unbounding society



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