Chapter

The Renaissance

Risto Saarinen

in Weakness of Will in Renaissance and Reformation Thought

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606818
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729614 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606818.003.0003
The Renaissance

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The chapter starts with an analysis of Petrarch’s Secretum. In addition to its obvious Augustinian features, this work is influenced by the medieval debates on the will, coming close at times to Henry of Ghent’s voluntarism. Donato Acciaiuoli’s commentary on Aristotle’s Ethics is Thomist, but it also applies Walter Burley’s views. The influence of Aquinas and Burley is also evident in Virgilius Wellendorffer’s forgotten but erudite commentary. Thomist intellectualism likewise permeates John Versor’s and Lefèvre d’Étaples’s discussions of akrasia. More original is the influential discussion of Josse Clichtove, who quotes extensively Medea’s lines in Ovid’s Metamorphoses 7 to establish a commonplace Platonist view. According to this view, reason struggles with emotions in the akratic mind. The chapter closes with John Mair, who refines the late medieval position of John Buridan, and argues that Aristotle’s syllogistics is compatible with the Christian view of free will. Many Renaissance discussions on akrasia employ the term ‘struggle’ (pugna), but it seldom figures prominently.

Keywords: Augustinianism; Platonism; intellectualism; voluntarism; free will; Petrarch

Chapter.  32468 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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