Sunday, December 4, 2011

Leo Catana on Bruno's "system" and "principle" in De minimo, De Causa

Bruno's division between mathematics, metaphysics and physics, the acclaimed systematic Nucleus in the Frankfurt trilogy, goes back to Medieval organization of knowledge, and is not "deduced"--simpliciter--from his concept of the minimum. Nor does Bruno say so.

In Bruno's De minimo, two principles ('principles' in the sense of ontological origin) govern his doctrine of atomism, namely that of the minimum, the atom, and that of the spiritus architectus, probably corresponding to the Neoplatonic hypostasis also called the World Soul. The latter infuses and coordinates teh former, just like the centre of a circle determines the circumference of the circle, Bruno says. Brucker ignores Bruno's comments on the reciprocal relationship betwen the minimum and the spiritus architectus--probably because they did not conform with Brucker's concept of system of philosophy, according to which there should be a deductive relationship from one principle, the minimum, to a body of doctrines. Bruno, in fact, referring to his De causa, principio e uno for further clarification, re-states his theory of the coincidence of opposites, which he calls a 'principle', in the sense of a general theory, pointing out that this theory also applies to nature, thus affecting the concepts minimum and maximum (i.e. God), as is indeed the case in the De la causa.
The Historiographical Concept 'System of Philosophy' p.55

1 comment:

  1. Interesting here is the possibility that the distinction between mathematics and metaphysics is at its origin monadological, viz. Plato's remarks in the Philebus (59de) contrasting the ordinary mathematician's indifferent, purely quantitative units from the qualitative unities of "philosophical arithmetic".

    As for the opposition between world soul and atom in Bruno, I think the key is that wherever there is agency, desire, will, a subjective viewpoint on the world, there is the world soul: a center for the polycentric universe. But anything we may take as an object is a monad of some kind.