Leon Battista Alberti’s Theogenius revived and revised the ancient view developed in the Hellenistic age according to which philosophy aims to form rather than inform people, showing them how to cultivate a specific attitude towards existence through a rational comprehension of the nature of humanity and its place in the cosmos. This view of philosophy as a way of life was challenged by the development of scholastic philosophy, seen as a body of speculative doctrines and professional skills (ancillary to the superior wisdom of theology). Nevertheless, it survived thanks to Renaissance humanists like Petrarch, Alberti, Erasmus, and Montaigne. In the Theogenius, Alberti deals critically not only with the Stoic idea that philosophy is a way of life as it is a medicine of the mind, but also with the version of it put forward by Petrarch in his De remediis utriusque fortunae. If the Theogenius is analysed together with the Profugiorum ab erumna libri III and some related Intercenales, it is possible to show that the novelty of Alberti’s reflections lies not in his pessimistic diagnosis of the human condition, which intertwines the disquiet caused by the inconstancy of fortune with the natural instability of the mind, but rather on his ironic conception of the therapy: unlike the Stoics, Alberti does not believes in the possibility of finding a definitive cure for human suffering.

Philosophy as a Way of Life: Remarks on Leon Battista Alberti’s Theogenius / A. Ceron. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Alberti Revisited: Art – Ethics – Politics tenutosi a On Line nel 2022.

Philosophy as a Way of Life: Remarks on Leon Battista Alberti’s Theogenius

A. Ceron
2022-06-21

Abstract

Leon Battista Alberti’s Theogenius revived and revised the ancient view developed in the Hellenistic age according to which philosophy aims to form rather than inform people, showing them how to cultivate a specific attitude towards existence through a rational comprehension of the nature of humanity and its place in the cosmos. This view of philosophy as a way of life was challenged by the development of scholastic philosophy, seen as a body of speculative doctrines and professional skills (ancillary to the superior wisdom of theology). Nevertheless, it survived thanks to Renaissance humanists like Petrarch, Alberti, Erasmus, and Montaigne. In the Theogenius, Alberti deals critically not only with the Stoic idea that philosophy is a way of life as it is a medicine of the mind, but also with the version of it put forward by Petrarch in his De remediis utriusque fortunae. If the Theogenius is analysed together with the Profugiorum ab erumna libri III and some related Intercenales, it is possible to show that the novelty of Alberti’s reflections lies not in his pessimistic diagnosis of the human condition, which intertwines the disquiet caused by the inconstancy of fortune with the natural instability of the mind, but rather on his ironic conception of the therapy: unlike the Stoics, Alberti does not believes in the possibility of finding a definitive cure for human suffering.
Alberti; Theogenius; philosophy as a way of life; citizens; men; stoicism
Settore SPS/02 - Storia delle Dottrine Politiche
Settore M-FIL/06 - Storia della Filosofia
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
https://www.khi.fi.it/en/aktuelles/veranstaltungen/2022/06/annalisa-ceron-alberti-theogenius.php
Philosophy as a Way of Life: Remarks on Leon Battista Alberti’s Theogenius / A. Ceron. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Alberti Revisited: Art – Ethics – Politics tenutosi a On Line nel 2022.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/932739
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