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NICOLETTO VERNIA'S QUESTION ON SEMINAL REASONS* Nicoletto Vernia (d. 1499), one of the most interesting figures of the Italian Renaissance,1 served a pivotal role in the remarkable shift in philosophical attitudes that occurred at Padua toward the end of the fifteenth century. As I have demonstrated elsewhere, Vernia went from an attitude of viewing Averroes as the most accurate interpreter of Aristotle's psychology to adopting the Greek Commentators , namely, Themistius and Simplicius, as the best guides to the thought of the Stagirite.2 What is also to be noted is that an attachment to Albert the Great is found both in his earlier writings and also in his late treatises.3 That is to say, Vernia attempts to assi- * I should like to express my gratitude to Professor Stephen F. Brown of the University of the South, who generously went over my transcription and made many excellent suggestions for its improvement. Any errors that remain are of course my own responsibility. 1 On Vernia's life and thought, see Pietro Ragnisco, Nicoletto Vernia: Studi storici sulla filosofía padovana nella 2a meta del secólo decimoquinto (Venice, 1891); idem, Document! inediti e rari intorno alla vita ed agli scritti di Nicoletto Vernia e di Elia del Medigo (Padua, 1891); R. Persiani, "Nicola Vernia, contributi biografici ," Rivista Abruzzese di scienze, lettere ed arti, 8 (1893), 199-212; Eugenio Garin, "Noterelle sulla filosofía del Rinascimento," Rinascimento, 2 (1951), 57-62 and 335-336; idem, "Ancora gli scritti del Vernia," Rinascimento 2 (1951), 192; idem, La cultura filosófica del Rinascimento italiano (Florence, 1961), pp. 293-299; idem, Storia della filosofía italiana (Turin, 1966), pp. 450-452; Paolo Sambin, "Intorno a Nicoletto Vernia," Rinascimento, 3 (1952), 261-268; Bruno Nardi, Saggi sull'aristotelismo padovano dal secólo XIV al XVI (Florence, 1958), pp. 95-126; Giovanni Di Napoli, L'immortalità dell'anima nel Rinascimento (Turin, 1963), pp. 181-193; Giulio F. Pagallo, "Sull'autore (Nicoletto Vernia?) di un'anonima e inédita quaestio sull'anima del secólo XV [Venezia, Bibl Naz., Lat. VI, 105 (=2656)]," in La filosofía della natura nel medioevo: Atti del Terzo Congresso Internazionale di Filosof ía Medioevale, 1964 (Milan, 1964), pp. 670-682; Cesare Vasoli, "La scienza della natura in Nicoletto Vernia," in ibidem, pp. 717-729. 2 Edward P. Mahoney, "Nicoletto Vernia on the Soul and Immortality," in Philosophy and Humanism: Renaissance Essays in Honor of Paul Oskar Kristeller , ed. E. P. Mahoney (New York and Leiden, 1976), pp. 144-163. * I discuss this in an article entitled "Albert the Great and the Studio Patavino in the Late Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Centuries" which will be published in a book of essays on Albert edited by Father James A. Weisheipl of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto. In June 1972, I identified two volumes in the Biblioteca Universitaria at Padua which are works of Albert as having been Vernia's own copies. They are Albert's De Animalibus (Rome, 1478), which 300EDWARD P. MAHONEY milate Albert and Averroes in his early period and then Albert and the Greek Commentators, namely, Themistius and Simplicius, in his later period.4 In his extant writings, Vernia reveals an acquaintance with a wide range of medieval Christian authors, not only Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Giles of Rome, Duns Scotus and John of Jandun, but also others like John Buridan, Walter Burley, and Marsilius of Inghen.5 He showed an admirable openness in accepting the new philosophical sources provided by the translations undertaken under the influence of humanism, namely, those of the psychological works of Themistius, Simplicius and Alexander of Aphrodisias. There is every evidence that Vernia put himself to mastering these new sources, and his late writings contain interesting though not in every case wholly accurate interpretations of their thought.6 The present treatise is an example of a presumably early treatise, one which does not appear to show any humanistic influences, either is catalogued as Inc. 186, and Albert's De Anima along with his De Intellectu et Intelligibili (Venice, 1481), which is catalogued as Inc. 360. The latter volume contains many annotations in Vernia's hand. Particularly interesting are those regarding...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 299-309
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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