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By Martin Heidegger

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Our life-world, to be sure, has its center, established by the accident of our body’s location. But that location does not bind reflection. I can imagine countless places I might occupy, can place myself in thought on the farthest star. Were I to live there, I would experience that star as the center of the cosmos. And the same will hold for all beings like us, wherever they might be. ” We may not confuse our life-world with this “world-machine”: to us the earth seems fixed, just as the sun, moon, and stars seem to rise and set.

Here I am interested in the historical presuppositions of the new science. In tracing these presuppositions I want to use the theme of perspective as a guiding thread. It will lead us from the infinity of the world, to the infinity of the self, and finally to the infinity of God. In the very beginning of From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe, Koyré tells us that The conception of the infinity of the universe, like everything else or nearly everything else, originates, of course, with the Greeks; and it is certain that the speculations of the Greek thinkers about the infinity of space and the multiplicity of worlds have played an important part in the history we shall be dealing with.

Cusanus thus tries to show that the earth’s darkness, supposedly proof of its baseness, is itself but a perspectival appearance: Moreover, [the earth’s] blackness is not evidence of its lowliness. For if someone were on the sun, the brightness which is visible to us would not be visible [to him]. For when the body of the sun is considered, [it is seen to] have a certain more central “earth,” as it were, and a certain “fiery and circumferential” brightness, as it were, and in its middle a “watery cloud and brighter air,” so to speak—just as our CHAPTER 2 37 earth [has] its own elements.

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