This article seeks to revise the common scholarly assumption that in early modern Europe there was no single word for the study of the universe as a whole until the word “cosmology” appeared in Christian Wolff’s Cosmologia generalis methodo scientifica pertractata (1731). In fact, the term “cosmology” had circulated in both Latin and European languages since at least the 1530s in the context of critical appraisals of the largely dominant Aristotelian and scholastic frameworks. The aim of this study is to unearth the earliest attempts to define cosmology as a philosophical discipline and, thereby, to highlight the lasting authority of traditional disciplinary boundaries.

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