How would you define nature in the renaissance period?

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The eNotes article "Renaissance Natural Philosophy" (linked below) has this to say in answer to your question:

Philosophers of nature argued, and most people of the time believed, that there exists a direct correspondence between man, the world, and the universe. The universe, according to the cosmology of the time, was infinite and contained an infinite number of solar systems with planets inhabited by conscious, rational beings. Most philosophers of nature...contended that all organic and inorganic objects in the universe, including rocks, trees, animals, humans, stars, and planets, have souls and are united by a greater world-soul.

Earlier eras had seen nature as existing only to serve human needs. Renaissance thinking expanded that idea to think in terms of microcosms and macrocosms, that humans were just one form of life within the greater macrocosm of the universe.

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