In these episodes we explore the philosophical riches of the Italian Renaissance, which for the purposes of the podcast will be considered to refer to the 15th and 16th centuries. (Figures of the northern Renaissance, such as Erasmus, are covered in the following "seasons".) During this period we see the rise of humanism with its attention to Latin and Greek language and recovery of such ancient philosophical schools as Epicureanism and Skepticism. Under the influence of visitors from the Greek East, scholars like Marsilio Ficino and Nicholas of Cusa are inspired to revive Platonism, yet traditions of scholastic philosophy also continue with Aristotle and Averroes influencing such thinkers as Pomponazzi and Nifo. It is also a time of great achievement in political philosophy, especially with the thought of Machiavelli, and of explorations in science and alchemy, astronomy and astrology: Cardano, Tycho Brahe, Bruno, and Galileo are just a few of the thinkers we will discuss under this heading. Also in focus will be Jewish philosophers like del Medigo and Abravanel, and women philosophers including Christine de Pizan. And as always the podcast will look at philosophical aspects of other cultural developments, like Renaissance art, history writing, and legal theory. Interview guests include Brian Copenhaver, Sabrina Ebbersmeyer, Guido Giglioni, Dag N. Hasse, Cecilia Muratori, Jill Kraye, David Lines, Ingrid Rowland, Denis Robichaud, and Quentin Skinner.
• R. Black, Humanism and Education in Medieval and Renaissance Italy (Cambridge: 2001).
• C.S. Celenza, The Lost Italian Renaissance: Humanists, Historians, and Latin’s Legacy (Baltimore: 2004).
• P. Godman, From Poliziano to Machiavelli: Florentine Humanism in the High Renaissance (Princeton: 1998).
• E. Garin, Storia della filosofia italiana, 3 vols (Turin: 1966).
• J. Kraye, "The Philosophy of the Italian Renaissance," in G.H.R. Parkinson (ed.), The Renaissance and Seventeenth-Century Rationalism (London: 1993), 1-64.
• P.O. Kristeller, Eight Philosophers of the Italian Renaissance (Stanford: 1964).
• J.M. Najemy, Italy in the Age of the Renaissance (Oxford: 2004).
• J. Monfasani, Language and Learning in Renaissance Italy (Aldershot: 1994).
Posted on 14 July 2019
Bessarion and George Trapenzuntius, rival scholars from the Greek east who helped inspire the Italian Renaissance.3 comments
Posted on 28 July 2019
Coluccio Salutati and Leonardo Bruni combine eloquence with philosophy, taking as their model the refined language and republican ideals found in Cicero.1 comments
Posted on 6 October 2019
Humanists from Bruni and Valla to Pontano and Castiglione ask whether ancient ethical teachings can still help us learn how to live.0 comments
Posted on 20 October 2019
The rediscovery of Epicurus, Lucretius, and Sextus Empiricus spreads challenging ideas about chance, atomism, and skepticism.7 comments
Posted on 3 November 2019
An interview with Sabrina Ebbersmeyer about the relation of emotion to reason and the body, and panpsychism, in the Renaissance.1 comments
Posted on 29 December 2019
The blossoming of Renaissance Platonism under the Medici, who supported the scholarship of Poliziano, Ficino, and Pico della Mirandola.1 comments
Posted on 12 January 2020
Marsilio Ficino’s revival of Platonism, with a focus on his proofs for the soul’s immortality in his magnum opus, the Platonic Theology.7 comments
Posted on 26 January 2020
Ficino describes a “Platonic” love purified of sexuality, prompting a debate carried on by Pico della Mirandola, Pietro Bembo, and Tullia d’Aragona.7 comments
Posted on 23 February 2020
Jewish philosophers in Renaissance Italy, focusing on Leone Ebreo’s Dialogues of Love, the Averroism of Elijah del Medigo, and Italian Kabbalah.9 comments
Posted on 8 March 2020
Pico della Mirandola argues for the harmony of the ancient authorities, draws on Jewish mysticism, and questions the value of humanist rhetoric.4 comments
Posted on 22 March 2020
Pico della Mirandola and Giannozzo Manetti praise humans as the centerpiece of the created world. But what about the other animals?3 comments
Posted on 5 April 2020
An interview with Cecilia Muratori, an expert on the surprisingly modern ideas about non-human animals that emerged in the Renaissance.3 comments
Posted on 19 April 2020
The prophetic preacher Girolamo Savonarola attacks pagan philosophy and puts forward his own political ideas, before coming to an untimely end.5 comments
Posted on 3 May 2020
Did “civic humanism” really make republicanism a newly dominant political theory in the Italian Renaissance?2 comments
Posted on 17 May 2020
Machiavelli’s seminal work of political advice, The Prince, tells the ruler how to be strong like a lion and cunning like a fox.11 comments
Posted on 14 June 2020
Leading Machiavelli scholar Quentin Skinner joins Peter to discuss morality, history, and religion in the Prince and the Discourses.5 comments
Posted on 28 June 2020
Bruni, Poggio, Machiavelli, and Guicciardini explore political ideas and historical method in works on Roman and Italian history.4 comments
Posted on 12 July 2020
Tommaso Campanella’s The City of the Sun and other utopian works of the Italian Renaissance describe perfect cities as an ideal for real life politics.2 comments
Posted on 26 July 2020
Leon Battista Alberti, Benedetto Cotrugli, and Poggio Bracciolini grapple with the moral and conceptual problems raised by the prospect of people getting filthy rich.7 comments
Posted on 27 September 2020
Aristotle’s works are edited, printed, and translated, leading to new assessments of his thought among both humanists and scholastics.8 comments
Posted on 25 October 2020
Pietro Pomponazzi and Agostino Nifo debate the immortality of the soul and the cogency of Averroes’ theory of intellect.7 comments
Posted on 22 November 2020
An interview with Dag Nikolaus Hasse on the Renaissance reception of Averroes, Avicenna, and other authors who wrote in Arabic.0 comments
Posted on 6 December 2020
The humanist study of Pythagoras, Archimedes and other ancient mathematicians goes hand in hand with the use of mathematics in painting and architecture.11 comments
Posted on 17 January 2021
An interview with Guido Giglioni, who speaks to us about the sources and philosophical implications of medical works of the Renaissance.3 comments
Posted on 31 January 2021
Was the anti-Aristotelian natural philosophy of Bernardino Telesio and Tommaso Campanella the first modern physical theory?7 comments
Posted on 14 February 2021
Ficino, Pico, Cardano, and other Renaissance thinkers debate whether astrology and magic are legitimate sciences with a foundation in natural philosophy.6 comments
Posted on 11 April 2021
For our finale of the Italian Renaissance series we're joined by Ingrid Rowland, to speak about art, philosophy, and persecution in Renaissance Rome.9 comments