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The Second BirthOn the Political Beginnings of Human Existence$
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Tilo Schabert

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226038056

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226185156.001.0001

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In Number

In Number

(p.9) In Number
The Second Birth

Tilo Schabert

, Javier Ibáñez-Noé
University of Chicago Press

As already Ancient Greek philosophy showed, number is the mode of all that is, and, hence, the world itself is to be understood as an order of number. Number is thus, in a certain sense, also the primordial Gestalt of human existence, and it expresses itself, just as in the rest of creation, in the distinction of the One from the Many, which underlies political existence, and which is also reflected in language. It is a basic but centrally important fact that human beings, although many in their individuality, are nonetheless one in their humanity. But first they lived in isolation from each other, and became one, among other things, by giving common meanings to the sounds used for communication. Several sources, including Cicero and Augustine, are quoted to the effect that this becoming and remaining One of human beings required a super-human power, which (in Augustine’s account) created the possibility of a harmonious unity of human beings by first creating one human being.

Keywords:   number, creation, The One and the Many, language, divine mind

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