Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Introduction: Philosophy in the Renaissance

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pp. 1-11

Any volume of portraits of Renaissance philosophers invites comparison with Paul Oskar Kristeller’s book Eight Philosophers of the Renaissance, which was published in 1964. The genre and the genesis of the present book are different (Kristeller’s text was originally delivered as lectures), but its intention is in fact the same: ...

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1. Ramon Lull (1232–1316): The Activity of God and the Hominization of the World

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pp. 12-22

In the last years of the eleventh century and the first years of the twelfth, there appeared in the western regions bordering on Islam—in Catalonia and southern France, and in the kingdoms of Toledo and Sicily—a new conception of knowledge and of reality which were the inception of a fundamentally new period in Western intellectual history. ...

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2. George Gemistos Plethon (ca. 1360–1454), George of Trebizond (1396–1472), and Cardinal Bessarion (1403–1472): The Controversy between Platonists and Aristotelians in the Fifteenth Century

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pp. 23-32

Marsilio Ficino completed his translation of Plato’s works for the Platonic Academy in Florence in 1477. This Latinization was preceded by a lengthy phase of reception of the Greek philosopher. Apart from the Latin translation of the Timaeus, which was already available in the Middle Ages, ...

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3. Lorenzo Valla (1406/7–1–457): Humanism as Philosophy

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pp. 33-42

Lorenzo Valla (1406/7–1457) was born in Rome and studied under humanists such as Leonardo Bruni. As a young man, he worked in northern Italy, where his principal post was as professor of rhetoric in Pavia from 1429. After trying unsuccessfully to become papal secretary or to get support of some other kind ...

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4. Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464): Squaring the Circle: Politics, Piety, and Rationality

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pp. 43-56

It is certainly possible to draw a distinction between what Nicholas of Cusa (Nicolaus Cusanus) was and what he is: what he was in the apparently so distant epoch of the fifteenth century in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, and what he means for us today and for the future. Both cases involve conjectures, more or less speculative sketches or (re-)constructions. ...

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5. Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472): Philosophy of Private and Public Life and of Art

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pp. 57-68

Battista Alberti, who later added “Leon” to his name, was born in Genoa on February 14, 1404, during the exile of the Alberti family, and grew up in northern Italy. After a humanistic education and the study of classics under the celebrated humanist Gasparino Barzizza in Padua (1415–1418), ...

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6. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494): The Synthetic Reconciliation of All Philosophies

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pp. 69-81

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, prince and philosopher, was celebrated for the rare coincidence of his intellectual and physical beauty as the “Phoenix,”1 that is, an emblematic and unique talent in the philosophical landscape of the fifteenth century. He was born on February 24, 1463, in the ancient fief of Mirandola ...

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7. Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499): The Aesthetic of the One in the Soul

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pp. 82-91

Marsilio Ficino was born in Figline Valdarno in 1433. Through his father Diotifeci, who was the personal physician of Cosimo de’ Medici, he came as an adolescent into contact with the Medicean circle. His early years were marked by the political rivalries that dominated Florence at that period, ...

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8. Pietro Pomponazzi (1462–1525): Secular Aristotelianism in the Renaissance

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pp. 92-115

Pietro Pomponazzi was one of the most important and influential Aristotelian philosophers of the Renaissance. Working within a philosophical tradition whose central themes, methods, and terminology had been established in the thirteenth century, Pomponazzi nevertheless managed to challenge received opinion and to put forward bold and innovative ideas. ...

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9. Niccolò Macchiavelli (1469–1527): A Good State for Bad People

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pp. 116-123

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) was for many years employed in the administration of the commonwealth of Florence and was later dismissed.1 He was a military theoretician, the author of accounts of political travels, a dramatist, and a man of letters who even today is celebrated for the lucidity of his prose style.2 ...

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10. Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486–1535): Philosophical Magic, Empiricism, and Skepticism

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pp. 124-132

Agrippa von Nettesheim, whose real name was Heinrich Cornelius, was born in Cologne on September 14, 1486. He began his studies in Cologne in 1499 and left the university in 1502 as master of arts. Apart from a period in Paris, his whereabouts are unknown until 1507. ...

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11. Juan Luis Vives (1492/93–1540): A Pious Eclectic

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pp. 133-147

Juan Luis Vives was born on March 6, 1492 (or 1493), in Valencia, Spain.1 His parents were clothmakers and Jewish converts to Christianity. He left the country of his birth in 1509, partly due to the increasing vigor with which the Inquisition, who had arrived in that part of Spain only a few years earlier, pursued their anti-Semitic policies. ...

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12. Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560): Reformer and Philosopher

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pp. 148-162

Whether Philipp Melanchthon is indeed one of the Renaissance philosophers and should be acknowledged as such depends on the answer to a number of complex problems which can give rise to controversial discussions. One may legitimately ask whether this humanist and scholar of the Reformation ...

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13. Petrus Ramus (1515–1572): Method and Reform

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pp. 163-167

The significance of Ramus’s thought is a much debated issue, partly because of the complex and evolving nature of his thought, and more importantly because of the heterogeneity of the claims made by those who purported to follow him. It is thus important to assess Ramus’s reputation as well as his thought.1 ...

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14. Bernardino Telesio (1509–1588): New Fundamental Principles of Nature

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pp. 168-180

Bernardino Telesio was born into an aristocratic family in Cosenza, in Calabria in southern Italy, in 1509.1 In 1517, he moved to Milan, where his uncle, the humanist Antonio Telesio, was his first teacher. In 1527, he followed his uncle initially to Venice; subsequently, he studied natural philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics ...

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15. Jacopo Zabarella (1533–1589): The Structure and Method of Scientific Knowledge

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pp. 181-191

Jacopo Zabarella, the eldest son of Count Giulio Zabarella, was born on September 5, 1533, in Padua, and died in the same city at the age of fifty-six, on October 15, 1589. He studied the humanistic disciplines, logic, natural philosophy, and mathematics at the university in his home town, and was awarded the degree of doctor in 1553. ...

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16. Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592): Philosophy as the Search for Self-Identity

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pp. 192-204

Michel de Montaigne was born in 1533 in the castle of Montaigne, about sixty kilometers inland from the French port of Bordeaux.1 He came from a bourgeois family of merchants who had entered the ranks of the aristocracy when they bought this castle. His father took part in the French campaigns in Italy ...

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17. Francesco Patrizi (1529–1597): New Philosophies of History, Poetry, and the World

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pp. 205-218

Francesco Patrizi was born in 1529 on the Dalmatian island of Cherso and died in Rome in 1597. In his youth, he traveled extensively with his uncle in the Mediterranean area. After attending school in Ingolstadt, he began his studies in 1547 in Padua, the stronghold of the humanistic interpretation of Aristotle. ...

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18. Giordano Bruno (1548–1600): Clarifying the Shadows of Ideas

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pp. 219-235

Filippo Bruno (who later took the religious name Giordano) was born in January or February 1548 in San Giovanni del Cesco near Nola in the kingdom of Naples. His father, Giovanni Bruno, was a military man. Filippo probably began his studies in Naples in 1562 (Firpo 1993, cited as “Proc.”; Proc. 156). ...

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19. Francisco Suárez (1548–1617): Scholasticism after Humanism

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pp. 236-255

Sixteenth-century Spain was a land of stark antitheses, where cosmopolitan attitudes and a sense of new beginnings, on the one hand, clashed with the state Inquisition and a rigid, narrowminded distrust of all that was new, on the other hand. After the completion of the Reconquista, a nonchalant spirit of conquest became widespread ...

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20. Tommaso Campanella (1568–1639): The Revolution of Knowledge from the Prison

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pp. 256-274

Campanella’s first work, the Philosophia sensibus demonstrata, was published in Naples in 1591.1 This large tome consists of eight disputationes in defense of the natural philosophy of Bernardino Telesio, in response to the attack by the lawyer Giacomo Antonio Marta, who had defended Aristotle. ...

References

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pp. 275-308

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Contributors

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pp. 309-312

Tamara Albertini is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, specializing in Renaissance and Islamic thought. Her research in Renaissance philosophy focuses on Nicholas of Cusa, Marsilio Ficino and Charles de Bovelles. ...

Index

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pp. 313-323