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Alcman and the Cosmos of Sparta
Gloria Ferrari
University of Chicago Press, 2008
The Partheneion, or “maiden song,” composed in the seventh century BCE by the SpartanpoetAlcman, is the earliest substantial example of a choral lyric. A provocative reinterpretation of the Partheneion and its broader context, Alcman and the Cosmos of Sparta excavates the poem’s invocations of widespread and long-lived cosmological ideas that cast the universe as perfectly harmonious and invested its workings with an ethical dimension.

Moving far beyond standard literary interpretations, Gloria Ferrari uncovers this astral symbolism by approaching the poem from several angles to brilliantly reconstruct the web of ancient drama, music, religion, painting, and material culture in which it is enmeshed. She shows, for example, that by stringing together images of horses, stars, and birds, the poem evokes classical antiquity’s beloved dance of the constellations. Instrumental in shaping the structure of the lyric, this dance symbolizes the cosmic order reflected in the order of the state, which the chorus would have enacted in a ritual performance of the song.

With broad implications for archaeology, art history, and ancient science, Ferrari’s bold new analysis dramatically deepens our understanding of Greek poetry and the rich culture of archaic Sparta.
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Anthropomorphizing the Cosmos
Middle Preclassic Lowland Maya Figurines, Ritual, and Time
Prudence M. Rice
University Press of Colorado, 2019
Anthropomorphizing the Cosmos explores the sociocultural significance of more than three hundred Middle Preclassic Maya figurines uncovered at the site of Nixtun-Ch'ich' on Lake Petén Itzá in northern Guatemala. In this careful, holistic, and detailed analysis of the Petén lakes figurines—hand-modeled, terracotta anthropomorphic fragments, animal figures, and musical instruments such as whistles and ocarinas—Prudence M. Rice engages with a broad swath of theory and comparative data on Maya ritual practice.
 
Presenting original data, Anthropomorphizing the Cosmos offers insight into the synchronous appearance of fired-clay figurines with the emergence of societal complexity in and beyond Mesoamerica. Rice situates these Preclassic Maya figurines in the broader context of Mesoamerican human figural representation, identifies possible connections between anthropomorphic figurine heads and the origins of calendrics and other writing in Mesoamerica, and examines the role of anthropomorphic figurines and zoomorphic musical instruments in Preclassic Maya ritual. The volume shows how community rituals involving the figurines helped to mitigate the uncertainties of societal transitions, including the beginnings of settled agricultural life, the emergence of social differentiation and inequalities, and the centralization of political power and decision-making in the Petén lowlands.
 
Literature on Maya ritual, cosmology, and specialized artifacts has traditionally focused on the Classic period, with little research centering on the very beginnings of Maya sociopolitical organization and ideological beliefs in the Middle Preclassic. Anthropomorphizing the Cosmos is a welcome contribution to the understanding of the earliest Maya and will be significant to Mayanists and Mesoamericanists as well as nonspecialists with interest in these early figurines
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Being and the Cosmos
Robert E. Wood
Catholic University of America Press, 2018
Robert Wood’s aim in Being and the Cosmos<\i> is to reestablish a speculative view of the cosmos that goes back to the ancient Greeks and that corresponds to the holism of contemporary physics. There are two sets of problems in contemporary thought that militate against any such attempt. Most widespread is scientific reductionism in biology and neuroscience that explains awareness in terms of the mechanisms that underlie it. The second is the widespread attack in philosophy itself on speculative holism by deconstruction and anti-foundationalism.

In Being and the Cosmos<\i>, the tack against both is to make explicit the character of the mind that sees and thinks, that actively takes up commitment to the truth available in the disciplines involved. The basic ground of this position rests upon the functioning of the notion of Being that opens up the question of the character of the Whole and the human being’s place in it. Thus position the treatment of the notion of Being as foundation and as orientation toward the Whole between the attack on reductionism and on deconstruction and anti-foundationalism. Wood concludes with a multidimensional sketch of an evolutionary view of the cosmos whose initial phases contain the potentialities for life, sensibility, and intellect as cosmic telos. The holism of contemporary physics has to be reconfigured in terms of this observation. Both reductionists and dualists should know that matter itself has to be re-minded and that mind itself matters.
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Cahokia
Mirror of the Cosmos
Sally A. Kitt Chappell
University of Chicago Press, 2002
At the turn of the last millennium, a powerful Native American civilization emerged and flourished in the American Midwest. By A.D. 1050 the population of its capital city, Cahokia, was larger than that of London. Without the use of the wheel, beasts of burden, or metallurgy, its technology was of the Stone Age, yet its culture fostered widespread commerce, refined artistic expression, and monumental architecture. The model for this urbane world was nothing less than the cosmos itself. The climax of their ritual center was a four-tiered pyramid covering fourteen acre rising a hundred feet into the sky—the tallest structure in the United States until 1867. This beautifully illustrated book traces the history of this six-square-mile area in the central Mississippi Valley from the Big Bang to the present.

Chappell seeks to answer fundamental questions about this unique, yet still relatively unknown space, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. How did this swampy land become so amenable to human life? Who were the remarkable people who lived here before the Europeans came? Why did the whole civilization disappear so rapidly? What became of the land in the centuries after the Mississippians abandoned it? And finally, what can we learn about ourselves as we look into the changing meaning of Cahokia through the ages?

To explore these questions, Chappell probes a wide range of sources, including the work of astronomers, geographers, geologists, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Archival photographs and newspaper accounts, as well as interviews with those who work at the site and Native Americans on their annual pilgrimage to the site, bring the story up to the present.
Tying together these many threads, Chappell weaves a rich tale of how different people conferred their values on the same piece of land and how the transformed landscape, in turn, inspired different values in them-cultural, spiritual, agricultural, economic, and humanistic.
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Cauldrons in the Cosmos
Nuclear Astrophysics
Claus E. Rolfs and William S. Rodney
University of Chicago Press, 1988
Nuclear astrophysics is, in essence, a science that attempts to understand and explain the physical universe beyond the Earth by studying its smallest particles. Cauldrons in the Cosmos, by Claus E. Rolfs and William S. Rodney, serves as a basic introduction to these endeavors. From the major discoveries in the field to a discussion of the makeup of stars to an explanation of standard lab techniques, this text provides students and scientists alike a thorough and fascinating survey of the accomplishments, goals, and methods of nuclear astrophysics. A classic in its field, Cauldrons in the Cosmos will surely remain an important reference in nuclear astrophysics for years to come.

"One could not wish for a better account of the current state of knowledge (and uncertainty) about nuclear reactions in stars."—B. E. J. Pagel, Nature

"Written in an informal style that those uninitiated into the jargon of nuclear astrophysics and astronomy will find readable and illuminating. . . . A useful and long-awaited introduction to nuclear astrophysics."—G. J. Mathews, Science

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Chaos to Cosmos
Studies in Biblical Patterns of Creation
Susan Niditch
SBL Press, 2000
Originally Published by Scholars Press
Now Available from Duke University Press

A fresh look at Genesis 1:11 from the perspectives of comparative literature and cultural anthropology. Susan Niditch reveals how Hebrew narratives of chaos, creation, and cosmos structure a mythic-literary world and create an order for human existence. Both the scholar and the student will find Niditch’s imaginative interpretation illuminating.

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City and Cosmos
The Medieval World in Urban Form
Keith D. Lilley
Reaktion Books, 2009

In City and Cosmos, Keith D. Lilley argues that the medieval mind considered the city truly a microcosm: much more than a collection of houses, a city also represented a scaled-down version of the very order and organization of the cosmos. Drawing upon a wide variety of sources, including original accounts, visual art, science, literature, and architectural history, City and Cosmos offers an innovative interpretation of how medieval Christians infused their urban surroundings with meaning.
 

Lilley combines both visual and textual evidence to demonstrate how the city carried Christian cosmological meaning and symbolism, sharing common spatial forms and functional ordering.  City and Cosmos will not only appeal to a diverse range of scholars studying medieval history, archaeology, philosophy, and theology; but it will also find a broad audience in architecture, urban planning, and art history. With more of the world’s population inhabiting cities than ever before, this original perspective on urban order and culture will prove increasingly valuable to anyone wishing to better understand the role of the city in society.

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Cosmos
An Illustrated History of Astronomy and Cosmology
John North
University of Chicago Press, 2008
For millennia humans have studied the skies to help them grow crops, navigate the seas, and earn favor from their gods. We still look to the stars today for answers to fundamental questions: How did the universe begin? Will it end, and if so, how? What is our place within it? John North has been examining such questions for decades. In Cosmos, he offers a sweeping historical survey of the two sciences that help define our place in the universe: astronomy and cosmology.
            Organizing his history chronologically, North begins by examining Paleolithic cave drawings that clearly chart the phases of the moon. He then investigates scientific practices in the early civilizations of Egypt, Greece, China, and the Americas (among others), whose inhabitants developed sophisticated methods to record the movements of the planets and stars. Trade routes and religious movements, North notes, brought these ancient styles of scientific thinking to the attention of later astronomers, whose own theories—such as Copernicus’ planetary theory—led to the Scientific Revolution.
            The work of master astronomers, including Ptolemy, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, is described in detail, as are modern-day developments in astrophysics, such as the advent of radio astronomy, the brilliant innovations of Einstein, and the many recent discoveries brought about with the help of the Hubble telescope. This new edition brings North’s seminal book right up to the present day, as North takes a closer look at last year’s reclassification of Pluto as a “dwarf” planet and gives a thorough overview of current research.
            With more than two hundred illustrations and a comprehensive bibliography, Cosmos is the definitive history of astronomy and cosmology. It is sure to find an eager audience among historians of science and astronomers alike.
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Cosmos And Hearth
A Cosmopolite’s Viewpoint
Yi-Fu Tuan
University of Minnesota Press, 1999

In a volume that represents the culmination of his life’s work in considering the relationship between culture and landscape, eminent scholar Yi-Fu Tuan argues that “cosmos” and “hearth” are two scales that anchor what it means to be fully and happily human. Illustrating this contention with examples from both his native China and his home of the past forty years, the United States, Tuan proposes a revised conception of culture, one thoroughly grounded in one’s own society but also embracing curiosity about the world. Optimistic and deeply human, this important volume lays out a path to being “at home in the cosmos.”

Hardcover:In this moving meditation on the difficult choices facing humanity in the next millennium, celebrated scholar Yi-Fu Tuan reaffirms his faith in the value of a cosmopolitan worldview. In a volume that represents the culmination of his life's work in considering the relationship between culture and landscape, Tuan argues that “cosmos” and “hearth” are two scales that anchor what it means to be fully and happily human. Hearth is our house and neighborhood, family and kinfolk, habit and custom. Cosmos, by contrast, is the larger reality-world, civilization, and humankind. Tuan addresses the extraordinary revival of interest in the hearth in recent decades, examining both the positive and negative effects of this renewed concern. Among the beneficent outcomes has been a revival of ethnic culture and sense of place. Negative repercussions abound, however, manifested as an upsurge in superstition, excessive pride in ancestry and custom, and a constricted worldview that when taken together can inflame local passions, leading at times to violent conflict-from riots in American cities to wars in the Balkans. In Cosmos and Hearth, Tuan takes the position that we need to embrace both the sublime and the humble, drawing what is valuable from each. Illustrating the importance of both cosmos and hearth with examples from his country of birth, China, and from his home of the past forty years, the United States, Tuan proposes a revised conception of culture, the “cosmopolitan hearth,” that has the coziness but not the narrowness and bigotry of the traditional hearth. Tuan encourages not only being thoroughly grounded in one’s own culture but also the embracing of curiosity about the world. Optimistic and deeply human, Cosmos and Hearth lays out a path to being “at home in the cosmos.” Born in China and educated in Australia, the Philippines, England, and the United States, Yi-Fu Tuan is professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the author of Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience (Minnesota, 1977), Landscapes of Fear (Minnesota, 1982), The Good Life (1986), and Passing Strange and Wonderful: Aesthetics, Nature, and Culture (1993). Excerpt: “Thinking yields a twofold gain: although it isolates us from our immediate group it can link us both seriously and playfully to the cosmos-to strangers in other places and times; and it enables us to accept a human condition that we have always been tempted by fear and anxiety to deny, namely, the impermanence of our state wherever we are, our ultimate homelessness. A cosmopolite is one who considers the gain greater than the loss. Having seen something of the splendid spaces, he or she will not want to return, permanently, to the ambiguous safeness of the hearth.”
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A Cosmos of Desire
The Medieval Latin Erotic Lyric in English Manuscripts
Thomas C Moser, Jr.
University of Michigan Press, 2004

Thomas C. Moser, Jr. explores the fascinating body of medieval Latin erotic poetry found in English manuscripts. His study describes the intellectual and social context from which the great erotic songs of the twelfth century emerged, and examines a variety of erotic poems, from school exercises to the magnificent lyrics found in Arundel 384. He also illuminates the influence of neoplatonic philosophy on this poetry, explicating key neoplatonic texts and applying that analysis in close readings of erotic lyrics from the same period and milieu.
A Cosmos of Desire will interest scholars of medieval literature as well as specialists in Latin poetry and philosophy. Students of Middle English literature will find that it fills an important gap in our understanding of English intellectual life between the twelfth and the fourteenth century. All Latin prose and poetry is translated, some works for the first time, and the book is generously illustrated with photographs of the manuscripts discussed.
Thomas C. Moser, Jr. is Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park.
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The Cosmos Of Science
Essays of Exploration
John Earman
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998
The inaugural volume of the series, devoted to the work of philosopher Adolf Grünbaum, encompasses the philosophical problems of space, time, and cosmology, the nature of scientific methodology, and the foundations of psychoanalysis.
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Cosmos, Self, and History in Baniwa Religion
For Those Unborn
By Robin M. Wright
University of Texas Press, 1998

The Baniwa Indians of the Northwest Amazon have engaged in millenarian movements since at least the middle of the nineteenth century. The defining characteristic of these movements is usually a prophecy of the end of this present world and the restoration of the primordial, utopian world of creation. This prophetic message, delivered by powerful shamans, has its roots in Baniwa myths of origin and creation.

In this ethnography of Baniwa religion, Robin M. Wright explores the myths of creation and how they have been embodied in religious movements and social action—particularly in a widespread conversion to evangelical Christianity. He opens with a discussion of cosmogony, cosmology, and shamanism, and then goes on to explain how Baniwa origin myths have played an active role in shaping both personal and community identity and history. He also explores the concepts of death and eschatology and shows how the mythology of destruction and renewal in Baniwa religion has made the Baniwa people receptive to both Catholic and Protestant missionaries.

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Critique and Cosmos
After Misao Miyoshi
Rob Wilson and Paul A. Bové, special issue editors
Duke University Press
This special issue aims to channel the energies, tactics, critical forces, and comparative poetics Masao Miyoshi (1928–2009) carried out in his work from the 1970s on: coming to terms with his concept of aftering (the act of prolonging and transforming impacts across cultural, political, and disciplinary borders) and its temporal, border-crossing, translational, field-reframing, and revisionary effects. Contributors do not assess his scholarship and photography in any memorial, critical, or honorific sense. Instead, they seek to renew the critical visions that he distributed across various fields, from Asian to Asian American studies and beyond. Each takes seriously the mandate inside Miyoshi's work that cultural criticism envision its work broadly and courageously. Essays address the state of Japan studies; China's role in twentieth-century geopolitics, particularly involving Tibet; the critical ethos of "the planetary" in the Anthropocene; and the Korean film Snowpiercer, whose plot represents an embodiment of killer capitalism.

Contributors. Tsering Wangmo Dhompa, Arif Dirlik, Harry Harootunian, Reginald Jackson, Mary Layoun, Christine L. Marran, George Solt, Keijiro Suga, Stefan Tanaka, Chih-ming Wang, Rob Wilson
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The Crown and the Cosmos
Astrology and the Politics of Maximilian I
Darin Hayton
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015
Despite its popular association today with magic, astrology was once a complex and sophisticated practice, grounded in technical training provided by a university education. The Crown and the Cosmos examines the complex ways that political practice and astrological discourse interacted at the Habsburg court, a key center of political and cultural power in early modern Europe. Like other monarchs, Maximilian I used astrology to help guide political actions, turning to astrologers and their predictions to find the most propitious times to sign treaties or arrange marriage contracts. Perhaps more significantly, the emperor employed astrology as a political tool to gain support for his reforms and to reinforce his own legitimacy as well as that of the Habsburg dynasty. Darin Hayton analyzes the various rhetorical tools astrologers used to argue for the nobility, antiquity, and utility of their discipline, and how they strove to justify their “science” on the grounds that through its rigorous interpretation of the natural world, astrology could offer more reliable predictions. This book draws on extensive printed and manuscript sources from archives across northern and central Europe, including Poland, Germany, France, and England.
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The Discovery of the World
Maps of the Earth and the Cosmos
Elizabeth Hale
University of Chicago Press, 1985

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Fictions of the Cosmos
Science and Literature in the Seventeenth Century
Frédérique Aït-Touati
University of Chicago Press, 2011
In today’s academe, the fields of science and literature are considered unconnected, one relying on raw data and fact, the other focusing on fiction. During the period between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, however, the two fields were not so distinct. Just as the natural philosophers of the era were discovering in and adopting from literature new strategies and techniques for their discourse, so too were poets and storytellers finding inspiration in natural philosophy, particularly in astronomy.
           
A work that speaks to the history of science and literary studies, Fictions of the Cosmos explores the evolving relationship that ensued between fiction and astronomical authority. By examining writings of Kepler, Godwin, Hooke, Cyrano, Cavendish, Fontenelle, and others, Frédérique Aït-Touati shows that it was through the telling of stories—such as through accounts of celestial journeys—that the Copernican hypothesis, for example, found an ontological weight that its geometric models did not provide. Aït-Touati draws from both cosmological treatises and fictions of travel and knowledge, as well as personal correspondences, drawings, and instruments, to emphasize the multiple borrowings between scientific and literary discourses. This volume sheds new light on the practices of scientific invention, experimentation, and hypothesis formation by situating them according to their fictional or factual tendencies.
 
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The Fold
From Your Body to the Cosmos
Laura U. Marks
Duke University Press, 2024
In The Fold, Laura U. Marks offers a practical philosophy and aesthetic theory for living in an infinitely connected cosmos. Drawing on the theories of Leibniz, Glissant, Deleuze, and theoretical physicist David Bohm—who each conceive of the universe as being folded in on itself in myriad ways—Marks contends that the folds of the cosmos are entirely constituted of living beings. From humans to sandwiches to software to stars, every entity is alive and occupies its own private enclosure inside the cosmos. Through analyses of fiction, documentary and experimental movies, interactive media, and everyday situations, Marks outlines embodied methods for detecting and augmenting the connections between each living entity and the cosmos. She shows that by affectively mediating with the ever-shifting folded relations within the cosmos, it is possible to build “soul-assemblages” that challenge information capitalism, colonialism, and other power structures and develop new connections with the infinite. With this guide for living within the enfolded and unfolding cosmos, Marks teaches readers to richly apprehend the world and to trace the processes of becoming that are immanent within the fold.
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Galaxy
Mapping the Cosmos
James Geach
Reaktion Books, 2014
Each night, we are able to gaze up at the night sky and look at the thousands of stars that stretch to the end of our individual horizons. But the stars we see are only those that make up our own Milky Way galaxy—but one of hundreds of billions in the whole of the universe, each separated  by inconceivably huge tracts of empty space. In this book, astronomer James Geach tells the rich stories of both the evolution of galaxies and our ability to observe them, offering a fascinating history of how we’ve come to realize humanity’s tiny place in the vast universe.
           
Taking us on a compelling tour of the state-of-the-art science involved in mapping the infinite, Geach offers a first-hand account of both the science itself and how it is done, describing what we currently know as well as that which we still do not. He goes back one hundred years to when scientists first proved the existence of other galaxies, tracking our continued improvement in the ability to collect and interpret the light that stars in faraway galaxies have emitted through space and time. He discusses examples of this rapidly accelerating research, from the initial discovery that the faint “spiral nebulae” were actually separate star systems located far beyond the Milky Way to the latest observations of the nature of galaxies and how they have evolved. He also delves into the theoretical framework and simulations that describe our current “world model” of the universe.
           
With one hundred superb color illustrations, Galaxy is an illuminating guide to the choreography of the cosmos and how we came to know our place within it that will appeal to any stargazer who has wondered what was beyond their sight.  
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The Human Place in the Cosmos
Max Scheler; Translated from the German by Manfred S. Frings, Introduction by Eugene Kely
Northwestern University Press, 2009
Upon Scheler’s death in 1928, Martin Heidegger remarked that he was the most important force in philosophy at the time. Jose Ortega y Gasset called Scheler "the first man of the philosophical paradise." The Human Place in the Cosmos, the last of his works Scheler completed, is a pivotal piece in the development of his writing as a whole, marking a peculiar shift in his approach and thought. He had been asked to provide an initial sketch of his much larger works on philosophical anthropology and metaphysics—works he was not able to complete because of his early demise.
 
Frings' new translation of this key work allows us to read and understand Scheler's thought within current philosophical debates and interests. The book addresses two main questions: What is the human being? And what is the place of the human being in the universe? Scheler responds to these questions within contexts of said two projected much larger works but not without reference to scientific research. He covers various levels of being: inorganic reality, organic reality (including plant life and psychological life), all the way up to practical intelligence and the spiritual dimension of human beings, and touching upon the holy.
 
Negotiating two intertwined levels of being, life-energy ("impulsion") and "spirit," this work marks not only a critical moment in the development of his own philosophy but also a significant contribution to the current discussions of continental and analytic philosophers on the nature of the person.
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Imperium and Cosmos
Augustus and the Northern Campus Martius
Paul Rehak; Edited by John G. Younger
University of Wisconsin Press, 2006
Caesar Augustus promoted a modest image of himself as the first among equals (princeps), a characterization that was as popular with the ancient Romans as it is with many scholars today. Paul Rehak argues against this impression of humility and suggests that, like the monarchs of the Hellenistic age, Augustus sought immortality—an eternal glory gained through deliberate planning for his niche in history while flexing his existing power. Imperium and Cosmos focuses on Augustus’s Mausoleum and Ustrinum (site of his cremation), the Horologium-Solarium (a colossal sundial), and the Ara Pacis (Altar to Augustan Peace), all of which transformed the northern Campus Martius into a tribute to his major achievements in life and a vast memorial for his deification after death.

Rehak closely examines the artistic imagery on these monuments, providing numerous illustrations, tables, and charts. In an analysis firmly contextualized by a thorough discussion of the earlier models and motifs that inspired these Augustan monuments, Rehak shows how the princeps used these on such an unprecedented scale as to truly elevate himself above the common citizen.       
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The Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy
Ernst Cassirer
University of Chicago Press, 2010

This provocative volume, one of the most important interpretive works on the philosophical thought of the Renaissance, has long been regarded as a classic in its field.  Ernst Cassirer here examines the changes brewing in the early stages of the Renaissance, tracing the interdependence of philosophy, language, art, and science; the newfound recognition of individual consciousness; and the great thinkers of the period—from da Vinci and Galileo to Pico della Mirandola and Giordano Bruno. The Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy discusses the importance of fifteenth-century philosopher Nicholas Cusanus, the concepts of freedom and necessity, and the subject-object problem in Renaissance thought.

“This fluent translation of a scholarly and penetrating original leaves little impression of an attempt to show that a ‘spirit of the age’ or ‘spiritual essence of the time’ unifies and expresses itself in all aspects of society or culture.”—Philosophy

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Into the Cosmos
Space Exploration and Soviet Culture
James T. Andrews
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011

The launch of the Sputnik satellite in October 1957 changed the course of human history. In the span of a few years, Soviets sent the first animal into space, the first man, and the first woman. These events were a direct challenge to the United States and the capitalist model that claimed ownership of scientific aspiration and achievement.
      The success of the space program captured the hopes and dreams of nearly every Soviet citizen and became a critical cultural vehicle in the country’s emergence from Stalinism and the devastation of World War II. It also proved to be an invaluable tool in a worldwide propaganda campaign for socialism, a political system that could now seemingly accomplish anything it set its mind to.
       Into the Cosmos shows us the fascinating interplay of Soviet politics, science, and culture during the Khrushchev era, and how the space program became a binding force between these elements. The chapters examine the ill-fitted use of cosmonauts as propaganda props, the manipulation of gender politics after Valentina Tereshkova’s flight, and the use of public interest in cosmology as a tool for promoting atheism. Other chapters explore the dichotomy of promoting the space program while maintaining extreme secrecy over its operations, space animals as media darlings, the history of Russian space culture, and the popularity of space-themed memorabilia that celebrated Soviet achievement and planted the seeds of consumerism.

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Life in the Cosmos
From Biosignatures to Technosignatures
Manasvi Lingam and Avi Loeb
Harvard University Press, 2021

A rigorous and scientific analysis of the myriad possibilities of life beyond our planet.

“Are we alone in the universe?” This tantalizing question has captivated humanity over millennia, but seldom has it been approached rigorously. Today the search for signatures of extraterrestrial life and intelligence has become a rapidly advancing scientific endeavor. Missions to Mars, Europa, and Titan seek evidence of life. Laboratory experiments have made great strides in creating synthetic life, deepening our understanding of conditions that give rise to living entities. And on the horizon are sophisticated telescopes to detect and characterize exoplanets most likely to harbor life.

Life in the Cosmos offers a thorough overview of the burgeoning field of astrobiology, including the salient methods and paradigms involved in the search for extraterrestrial life and intelligence. Manasvi Lingam and Avi Loeb tackle three areas of interest in hunting for life “out there”: first, the pathways by which life originates and evolves; second, planetary and stellar factors that affect the habitability of worlds, with an eye on the biomarkers that may reveal the presence of microbial life; and finally, the detection of technological signals that could be indicative of intelligence. Drawing on empirical data from observations and experiments, as well as the latest theoretical and computational developments, the authors make a compelling scientific case for the search for life beyond what we can currently see.

Meticulous and comprehensive, Life in the Cosmos is a master class from top researchers in astrobiology, suggesting that the answer to our age-old question is closer than ever before.

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Maya Political Science
Time, Astronomy, and the Cosmos
By Prudence M. Rice
University of Texas Press, 2004

How did the ancient Maya rule their world? Despite more than a century of archaeological investigation and glyphic decipherment, the nature of Maya political organization and political geography has remained an open question. Many debates have raged over models of centralization versus decentralization, superordinate and subordinate status—with far-flung analogies to emerging states in Europe, Asia, and Africa. But Prudence Rice asserts that neither the model of two giant "superpowers" nor that which postulates scores of small, weakly independent polities fits the accumulating body of material and cultural evidence.

In this groundbreaking book, Rice builds a new model of Classic lowland Maya (AD 179-948) political organization and political geography. Using the method of direct historical analogy, she integrates ethnohistoric and ethnographic knowledge of the Colonial-period and modern Maya with archaeological, epigraphic, and iconographic data from the ancient Maya. On this basis of cultural continuity, she constructs a convincing case that the fundamental ordering principles of Classic Maya geopolitical organization were the calendar (specifically a 256-year cycle of time known as the may) and the concept of quadripartition, or the division of the cosmos into four cardinal directions. Rice also examines this new model of geopolitical organization in the Preclassic and Postclassic periods and demonstrates that it offers fresh insights into the nature of rulership, ballgame ritual, and warfare among the Classic lowland Maya.

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Measuring the Cosmos
How Scientists Discovered the Dimensions of the Universe
David H. Clark and Matthew D.H. Clark
Rutgers University Press, 2004

Humans have always viewed the heavens with wonder and awe. The skies have inspired reflection on the vastness of space, the wonder of creation, and humankind’s role in the universe. In just over one hundred years, science has moved from almost total ignorance about the actual distances to the stars and earth’s place in the galaxy to our present knowledge about the enormous size, mass, and age of the universe. We are reaching the limits of observation, and therefore the limits of human understanding. Beyond lies only our imagination, seeded by the theories of physics. In Measuring the Cosmos, science writers David and Matthew Clark tell the stories of both the well-known and the unsung heroes who played key roles in these discoveries. These true accounts reveal ambitions, conflicts, failures, as well as successes, as the astonishing scale and age of the universe were finally established.  Few areas of scientific research have witnessed such drama in the form of ego clashes, priority claims, or failed (or even falsified) theories as that resulting from attempts to measure the universe. Besides giving credit where long overdue, Measuring the Cosmos explains the science behind these achievements in accessible language sure to appeal to astronomers, science buffs, and historians.

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Medieval Views of the Cosmos
E. Edson and E. Savage-Smith
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2004
Once upon a time, the universe was much simpler: before our modern understanding of an infinite formless space scattered with pulsating stars, revolving planets, and mysterious black holes, the universe was seen as a rigid hierarchical system with the earth and the human race at its center. Medieval Views of the Cosmos investigates this worldview shared by medieval societies, revealing how their modes of thought affect us even today.

In the medieval world system—inherited by Christians and Muslims from the Greeks and Romans, and modified by their own religious tenets—spheres bearing the planets and stars wheeled around the earth, and at every level there was a moral lesson for humanity and a satisfying metaphor for the nature of God. The authors of this volume explain how the medieval view of the universe was harmonious on theological and practical levels, providing answers to the most puzzling of questions.

Medieval Views of the Cosmos is an engaging and beautifully illustrated introduction to a world where every moment was a theater of human drama directed by the hand of God.
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Myth, Cosmos, and Society
Indo-European Themes of Creation and Destruction
Bruce Lincoln
Harvard University Press, 1986

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Neutron Stars
The Quest to Understand the Zombies of the Cosmos
Katia Moskvitch
Harvard University Press, 2020

The astonishing science of neutron stars and the stories of the scientists who study them.

Neutron stars are as bewildering as they are elusive. The remnants of exploded stellar giants, they are tiny, merely twenty kilometers across, and incredibly dense. One teaspoon of a neutron star would weigh several million tons. They can spin up to a thousand times per second, they possess the strongest magnetic fields known in nature, and they may be the source of the most powerful explosions in the universe. Through vivid storytelling and on-site reporting from observatories all over the world, Neutron Stars offers an engaging account of these still-mysterious objects.

Award-winning science journalist Katia Moskvitch takes readers from the vast Atacama Desert to the arid plains of South Africa to visit the magnificent radio telescopes and brilliant scientists responsible for our knowledge of neutron stars. She recounts the exhilarating discoveries, frustrating disappointments, and heated controversies of the past several decades and explains cutting-edge research into such phenomena as colliding neutron stars and fast radio bursts: extremely powerful but ultra-short flashes in space that scientists are still struggling to understand. She also shows how neutron stars have advanced our broader understanding of the universe—shedding light on topics such as dark matter, black holes, general relativity, and the origins of heavy elements like gold and platinum—and how we might one day use these cosmic beacons to guide interstellar travel.

With clarity and passion, Moskvitch describes what we are learning at the boundaries of astronomy, where stars have life beyond death.

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On Sophistical Refutations. On Coming-to-be and Passing Away. On the Cosmos
Aristotle
Harvard University Press

Fallacies, contraries, consistencies.

Aristotle, great Greek philosopher, researcher, reasoner, and writer, born at Stagirus in 384 BC, was the son of a physician. He studied under Plato at Athens and taught there (367–347); subsequently he spent three years at the court of a former pupil in Asia Minor. After some time at Mitylene, in 343–342 he was appointed by King Philip of Macedon to be tutor of his teen-aged son Alexander. After Philip’s death in 336, Aristotle became head of his own school (of “Peripatetics”), the Lyceum at Athens. Because of anti-Macedonian feeling there after Alexander’s death in 323, he withdrew to Chalcis in Euboea, where he died in 322.

Nearly all the works Aristotle prepared for publication are lost; the priceless ones extant are lecture-materials, notes, and memoranda (some are spurious). They can be categorized as follows:

I Practical: Nicomachean Ethics; Great Ethics (Magna Moralia); Eudemian Ethics; Politics; Economics (on the good of the family); On Virtues and Vices.
II Logical: Categories; Analytics (Prior and Posterior); Interpretation; Refutations used by Sophists; Topica.
III Physical: Twenty-six works (some suspect) including astronomy, generation and destruction, the senses, memory, sleep, dreams, life, facts about animals, etc.
IV Metaphysics: on being as being.
V Art: Rhetoric and Poetics.
VI Other works including the Constitution of Athens; more works also of doubtful authorship.
VII Fragments of various works such as dialogues on philosophy and literature; and of treatises on rhetoric, politics, and metaphysics.

The Loeb Classical Library edition of Aristotle is in twenty-three volumes.

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The Passage to Cosmos
Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America
Laura Dassow Walls
University of Chicago Press, 2009

Explorer, scientist, writer, and humanist, Alexander von Humboldt was the most famous intellectual of the age that began with Napoleon and ended with Darwin. With Cosmos, the book that crowned his career, Humboldt offered to the world his vision of humans and nature as integrated halves of a single whole. In it, Humboldt espoused the idea that, while the universe of nature exists apart from human purpose, its beauty and order, the very idea of the whole it composes, are human achievements: cosmos comes into being in the dance of world and mind, subject and object, science and poetry.

Humboldt’s science laid the foundations for ecology and inspired the theories of his most important scientific disciple, Charles Darwin. In the United States, his ideas shaped the work of Emerson, Thoreau, Poe, and Whitman. They helped spark the American environmental movement through followers like John Muir and George Perkins Marsh. And they even bolstered efforts to free the slaves and honor the rights of Indians.

Laura Dassow Walls here traces Humboldt’s ideas for Cosmos to his 1799 journey to the Americas, where he first experienced the diversity of nature and of the world’s peoples—and envisioned a new cosmopolitanism that would link ideas, disciplines, and nations into a global web of knowledge and cultures. In reclaiming Humboldt’s transcultural and transdisciplinary project, Walls situates America in a lively and contested field of ideas, actions, and interests, and reaches beyond to a new worldview that integrates the natural and social sciences, the arts, and the humanities.

To the end of his life, Humboldt called himself “half an American,” but ironically his legacy has largely faded in the United States. The Passage to Cosmos will reintroduce this seminal thinker to a new audience and return America to its rightful place in the story of his life, work, and enduring legacy.

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Picturing the Cosmos
A Visual History of Early Soviet Space Endeavor
Iina Kohonen
Intellect Books, 2017
Space is the ultimate canvas for the imagination, and in the 1950s and ’60s, as part of the space race with the United States, the solar system was the blank page upon which the Soviet Union etched a narrative of exploration and conquest. In Picturing the Cosmos, drawing on a comprehensive corpus of rarely seen photographs and other visual phenomena, Iina Kohonen maps the complex relationship between visual propaganda and censorship during the Cold War.

Kohonen ably examines each image, elucidating how visual media helped to anchor otherwise abstract political and intellectual concepts of the future and modernization within the Soviet Union. The USSR mapped and named the cosmos, using new media to stake a claim to this new territory and incorporating it into the daily lives of its citizens. Soviet cosmonauts, meanwhile, were depicted as prototypes of the perfect Communist man, representing modernity, good taste, and the aesthetics of the everyday. Across five heavily illustrated chapters, Picturing the Cosmos navigates and critically examines these utopian narratives, highlighting the rhetorical tension between propaganda, censorship, art, and politics.
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Plato's World
Man's Place in the Cosmos
Joseph Cropsey
University of Chicago Press, 1995
In this culmination of a lifetime's study, Joseph Cropsey examines the crucial relationship between Plato's conception of the nature of the universe and his moral and political thought.

Cropsey interprets seven of Plato's dialogues—Theaetetus, Euthyphro, Sophist, Statesman, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo—in light of their dramatic consecutiveness and thus as a conceptual and dramatic whole. The cosmos depicted by Plato in these dialogues, Cropsey argues, is often unreasonable, and populated by human beings unaided by gods and dealt with equivocally by nature. Masterfully leading the reader through the seven scenes of the drama, Cropsey shows how they are, to an astonishing degree, concerned with the resources available to help us survive in such a world.

This is a world—and a Plato—quite at odds with most other portraits. Much more than a summary of Plato's thinking, this book is an eloquent, sometimes amusing, often moving guide to the paradoxes and insights of Plato's philosophy.
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The Pursuit of Harmony
Kepler on Cosmos, Confession, and Community
Aviva Rothman
University of Chicago Press, 2017
A committed Lutheran excommunicated from his own church, a friend to Catholics and Calvinists alike, a layman who called himself a “priest of God,” a Copernican in a world where Ptolemy still reigned, a man who argued at the same time for the superiority of one truth and the need for many truths to coexist—German astronomer Johannes Kepler was, to say the least, a complicated figure. With The Pursuit of Harmony, Aviva Rothman offers a new view of him and his achievements, one that presents them as a story of Kepler’s attempts to bring different, even opposing ideas and circumstances into harmony.
 
Harmony, Rothman shows, was both the intellectual bedrock for and the primary goal of Kepler’s disparate endeavors. But it was also an elusive goal amid the deteriorating conditions of his world, as the political order crumbled and religious war raged. In the face of that devastation, Kepler’s hopes for his theories changed: whereas he had originally looked for a unifying approach to truth, he began instead to emphasize harmony as the peaceful coexistence of different views, one that could be fueled by the fundamentally nonpartisan discipline of mathematics. 
 
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Simulating the Cosmos
Why the Universe Looks the Way It Does
Romeel Davé
Reaktion Books, 2023
A behind-the-scenes look at the latest tool in astrophysics: computer simulations of the cosmos.
 
Simulating the Cosmos is a behind-the-scenes look at one of the hottest and fastest-moving areas of astrophysics today: simulations of cosmology and galaxy formation. Leading cosmologist Romeel Davé guides you through the trials and tribulations of what it takes to teach computers how galaxies form, the amazing insights revealed by cosmological simulations, and the many mysteries yet to be solved. This rollicking journey is a rare glimpse into science in action, showing how cosmologists are using supercomputers to uncover the secrets of how the universe came to be.
 
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State and Cosmos in the Art of Tenochtitlan
Richard Fraser Townsend
Harvard University Press
Richard Fraser Townsend offers an interpretation of major examples of Mexica monumental art by identifying three interrelated iconographic themes: the conception of the universe as a sacred structure, the correspondence of the social order and the territory of the nation with the cosmic structure, and the representation of Tenochtitlan as the historically legitimate successor to the civilization of the past.
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Tibes
People, Power, and Ritual at the Center of the Cosmos
Edited by L. Antonio Curet and Lisa M. Stringer
University of Alabama Press, 2009
The first comprehensive analysis of a strategically located ceremonial center on the island of Puerto Rico

The prehistoric civic-ceremonial center of Tibes is located on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, just north of the modern coastal city of Ponce. Protected on two sides by a river, and on the other two sides by hills, this approximately 10.5-acre site remains as fertile and productive today as when first occupied over 2,000 years ago. Such a rich region would have been a choice location for native peoples because of the diversity in all resources, from land, air, and sea--and also symbolically crucial as a liminal space within the landscape. It may have been regarded as a space charged with numen or cosmic energy where different parts of the cosmos (natural vs. supernatural, or world of the living vs. world of the dead) overlap. Archaeological evidence reveals a long occupation, about 1,000 years, possibly followed by an extensive period of sporadic ceremonial use after the site itself was practically abandoned.

In this volume, nineteen Caribbeanists, across a wide academic spectrum, examine the geophysical, paleoethnobotanical, faunal, lithics, base rock, osteology, bone chemistry and nutrition, social landscape, and ceremonial constructs employed at Tibes. These scholars provide a concise, well-presented, comprehensive analysis of the evidence for local level changes in household economy, internal organization, accessibility to economic, religious, and symbolic resources related to the development and internal operation of socially stratified societies in the Caribbean.


 
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The World Below
Body and Cosmos in Otomí Indian Ritual
Jacques Galinier
University Press of Colorado, 2004
In The World Below, Jacques Galinier surveys both traditional Otomí cosmology and colonial and contemporary Catholic rituals to illustrate the complexity of continuity and change in Mesoamerican religious ideology and practice. Galinier explores the problems of historical and family memory, models of space and time, the role of the human habitation in cosmology, shamanism and healing, and much more. He elucidates the way these realities are represented in a series of arresting oppositions - both Otomí oppositions and the duality of indigenous and Catholic ritual life - between the upper and lower human body.

Drawing upon both Freud and theories of the carnivalesque, Galinier argues that the "world below" (the lower half of the body) provides the foundation for an indigenous metapsychology that is at once very close to and very far away from the Freudian conceptual apparatus.

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