Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Infinity
(3,304 words)

1. Metaphysics

1.1. Concept and prior history

The term “infinity” (French infinité; German Unendlichkeit) is often used figuratively (metaphorically) to denote very large or unknown values (“infinite depths of the ocean”), so that its literal use has faded into the background. “The infinite” (Latin infinitum, Greek ápeiron, “the boundless”, “the indeterminate”) in the strict sense, however, has since the first days of Greek philosophy been a precise term in both mathematics and metaphysics …

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Sparn, Walter and Scholz, Erhard, “Infinity”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 19 July 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_031165>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190124



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