In Defense of Common Sense: Lorenzo Valla's Humanist Critique of Scholastic Philosophy (I Tatti Studies in Italian Renaissance History)
By: Lodi Nauta (author)Hardback
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One of the leading humanists of Quattrocento Italy, Lorenzo Valla (1406-1457) has been praised as a brilliant debunker of medieval scholastic philosophy. In this book Lodi Nauta seeks a more balanced assessment, presenting us with the first comprehensive analysis of the humanist's attempt at radical reform of Aristotelian scholasticism. This study examines Valla's attack on major tenets of Aristotelian metaphysics, employing common sense and linguistic usage as his guides. It then explicates Valla's critique of Aristotelian psychology and natural philosophy and discusses his moral and religious views, including Valla's notorious identification of Christian beatitude with Epicurean pleasure and his daring views on the Trinity. Finally, it takes up Valla's humanist dialectic, which seeks to transform logic into a practical tool measured by persuasiveness and effectiveness. Nauta firmly places Valla's arguments and ideas within the contexts of ancient and medieval philosophical traditions as well as recent interest in ancient rhetoric.
He also demonstrates the relevance of Valla's conviction that the philosophical problems of the scholastics are rooted in a misunderstanding of language. Combining philosophical exegesis and historical scholarship, this book offers a new approach to a major Renaissance thinker.
Lodi Nauta is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
Preface Introduction PART ONE: The Attack on Aristotelian-Scholastic Metaphysics 1 The Analysis of Things: Substance, Quality, and the Tree of Porphyry 2 Thing and Word: A Critique of Transcendental Terms 3 From a Grammatical Point of View: The Reduction of the Categories PART TWO: Soul, Nature, Morality, and God 4 Soul and Nature: A Critique of Aristotelian Psychology and Natural Philosophy 5 The Virtues and the Road to Heavenly Pleasure 6 Speaking about the Ineffable: The Trinity PART THREE: Toward a Humanist Dialectic 7 Dialectic I: Propositions, the Square of Contraries, Proof and Argument 8 Dialectic II: Forms of Argumentation Conclusion: Valla and "Ordinary Language Philosophy" List of Abbreviations Notes Bibliography
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- ID: 9780674032699
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