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Alighieri, Dante (1265–1321)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-B032-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 22, 2024, from

Article Summary

Although Dante never received a systematic training in philosophy, he tackled some of the most controversial philosophical problems of his time. In his theory of science, he asked how we are to explain the fact that science is a unified, strictly ordered system of knowledge. He answered by comparing the scientific disciplines with the celestial spheres, claiming that the system of knowledge mirrors the cosmological order. In his political philosophy, he asked why all humans want to live in a peaceful society. All humans seek full use of their cognitive capacity, was his answer, and they can achieve it only if they interact socially. In his philosophy of nature, Dante asked what brings about the order of the elements, and suggested that the elements obey the laws of a universal nature in a strictly ordered cosmos. He elaborated all his answers in a scholastic framework that made use of both Aristotelian and Neoplatonic traditions.

Citing this article:
Perler, Dominik. Alighieri, Dante (1265–1321), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-B032-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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