From the twelfth to the seventeenth century, Aristotle’s writings lay at the foundation of Western culture, providing a body of knowledge and a set of analytical tools applicable to all areas of human investigation. Scholars of the Renaissance have emphasized the remarkable longevity and versatility of Aristotelianism, but their attention has remained firmly, and almost exclusively, fixed on the transmission of Aristotle’s works in Latin. Scarce attention has gone to works in the vernacular. Nonetheless, several important Renaissance figures wished to make Aristotle’s works accessible and available outside the narrow circle of professional philosophers and university professors. They believed that his works could provide essential knowledge to a broad set of readers, and embarked on an intense programme of translation and commentary to see this happen. It is the argument of this project that vernacular Aristotelianism made fundamental contributions to the thought of the period, anticipating many of the features of early modern philosophy and contributing to a new encyclopaedia of knowledge. Our project aims to offer the first detailed and comprehensive study of the vernacular diffusion of Aristotle through a series of analyses of its main texts. We will thus study works that fall within the two main Renaissance divisions of speculative philosophy (metaphysics, natural philosophy, mathematics, and logic) and civil philosophy (ethics, politics, rhetoric, and poetics). We will give strong attention to the contextualization of the texts they examine, as is standard practice in the best kind of intellectual history, focusing on institutional contexts, reading publics, the value of the vernacular, new visions of knowledge and eclecticism. With the work of the PI, two professors, 5 post-docs and two PhD students we aim to make considerable advances in the understanding of both speculative and civil philosophy within vernacular Aristotelianism.
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