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3 The Philosopher and the Idiot: The Role of Aristotelian Philosophy in the Philosophy and Theology of Cusanus

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Chapter Summary

One of the key factors in the debates between Cusanus and Wenck/Aggsbach concerned the application and interpretation of the Aristotelian philosophy. References in the early sermons to ancient philosophy are largely derived from various works of Augustine or sources such as Eusebius' Praeparatio evangelica, and often concern prefigurations of the Trinity. The other most philosophically significant discussion of Aristotelian philosophy is on the subject of forms, or universals. While his position on universals thus confirms to a significant extent the Aristotelian view, Cusanus also sharply criticizes Aristotle and the Peripatetics in this chapter for denying the extra-mental existence of forms. In summary, we have seen that there are numerous references to Aristotle based on direct engagement with the source text, particularly with the Metaphysics and Nicomachean Ethics. Finally, the chapter concludes that the extent of Cusanus' appreciation for and use of the Philosopher in his works has generally been underacknowledged.

Keywords: Aristotelian philosophy; Cusanus; Metaphysics; Nicomachean Ethics; sermons



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