It is frequently assumed that one can speak of «Italian philosophy» only from the Renaissance onwards. This paper first reconstructs how this well received view was established by Giovanni Gentile and Eugenio Garin. The latter refused not only the eighteenth-century myth of «ancient Italian wisdom», but also the claim of a few early twentieth-century scholars that the beginnings of «Italian philosophy» should be traced to the Middle Ages. Though acknowledging the weaknesses of their arguments, this paper shows that a «specific» Italian philosophical culture did exist during the later Middle Ages. Because of the peculiar institutional structure of Italian universities, philosophy was not conceived as the «handmaid» of theology but as a «sister» of medicine; Italian Arts masters had a higher social status than their European colleagues; they enjoyed a greater intellectual freedom and focused on disciplines such as logic, psychology, natural philosophy and astronomy. Moreover, this paper argues that the commonly accepted idea that «Italian philosophy» began with the Renaissance should be better qualified by emphasizing that only from the 1540s a few Italian intellectuals, believing that the volgare was worthy to be used as a language of culture, started to systematically publish philosophical works written in Italian and explicitly destined to an Italian readership.

La ‘specificità italiana’: note sulla filosofia in Italia fra medioevo e Rinascimento [The «Italian specificity»: notes on philosophy in Italy from the middle ages to the Renaissance] / L.M.S.F. Bianchi. - In: RIVISTA DI FILOSOFIA. - ISSN 2612-1042. - 111:1(2020 Apr), pp. 3-31. [10.1413/96335]

La ‘specificità italiana’: note sulla filosofia in Italia fra medioevo e Rinascimento [The «Italian specificity»: notes on philosophy in Italy from the middle ages to the Renaissance]

Luca Bianchi
2020-04

Abstract

It is frequently assumed that one can speak of «Italian philosophy» only from the Renaissance onwards. This paper first reconstructs how this well received view was established by Giovanni Gentile and Eugenio Garin. The latter refused not only the eighteenth-century myth of «ancient Italian wisdom», but also the claim of a few early twentieth-century scholars that the beginnings of «Italian philosophy» should be traced to the Middle Ages. Though acknowledging the weaknesses of their arguments, this paper shows that a «specific» Italian philosophical culture did exist during the later Middle Ages. Because of the peculiar institutional structure of Italian universities, philosophy was not conceived as the «handmaid» of theology but as a «sister» of medicine; Italian Arts masters had a higher social status than their European colleagues; they enjoyed a greater intellectual freedom and focused on disciplines such as logic, psychology, natural philosophy and astronomy. Moreover, this paper argues that the commonly accepted idea that «Italian philosophy» began with the Renaissance should be better qualified by emphasizing that only from the 1540s a few Italian intellectuals, believing that the volgare was worthy to be used as a language of culture, started to systematically publish philosophical works written in Italian and explicitly destined to an Italian readership.
Italian philosophy; medieval philosophy; Renaissance philosophy; Giovanni Gentile; Eugenio Garin
Settore M-FIL/06 - Storia della Filosofia
Settore M-FIL/08 - Storia della Filosofia Medievale
Dipartimenti di Eccellenza 2018-2022 - Dipartimento di FILOSOFIA
RIVISTA DI FILOSOFIA
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/764022
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