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Telesio, Bernardino (1509–88)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-C042-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 21, 2021, from

Article Summary

Bernardino Telesio was a philosopher from southern Italy. He was one of the Renaissance philosophers who developed a new philosophy of nature: his most important book was called De rerum natura iuxta propria principia (On the Nature of Things According to Their Own Principles). Telesio approached natural philosophy empirically, and regarded it as a separate field of study from theology and metaphysics. He believed that all natural beings were animate; and, by arguing that the two general principles of heat and cold affected the whole universe, he resisted the Aristotelian division between the corruptible earth and the eternal heavens. However, despite his apparent anti-Aristotelianism and his sympathy for the Presocratics, Telesio owed much to Aristotle, and tried to transform rather than destroy Aristotle’s work. Telesio became the head of a Calabrian school, and was influential and widely discussed in his own time. Francesco Patrizi criticized him, but with respect; Tommaso Campanella followed him in his early works; and Thomas Hobbes drew inspiration from him.

Citing this article:
Kessler, Eckhard. Telesio, Bernardino (1509–88), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-C042-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2021 Routledge.

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