Lorenzo valla and quattrocento scepticism

Vivarium 44 (s 2-3):375-395 (2006)
Lorenzo Valla has often been considered to be a sceptic. Equipped with an extremely polemical and critical mind, his whole oeuvre seemed to aim at undermining received philosophical and theological dogmas. More specifically he has been associated with the burgeoning interests in ancient scepticism in the fifteenth century. In this article the arguments in support of this interpretation will be critically examined and evaluated. Based on a discussion of two of his major works, De vero bono and the Dialectica, it will be shown that Valla was not a sceptic. Even though the first work betrays the techniques of the Academy as employed by Cicero, the appropriation of these strategies served an agenda which can hardly be called 'sceptical'. The second work contains his reform of Aristotelian dialectic, which seems to testify to a sceptical interest in arguments which rely on verisimilitude and dubious validity such as sorites and paradox. But rather than reflecting an endorsement of Academic scepticism, this work, on closer reading, shows Valla to be highly critical on such arguments. This raises the question of how scepticism is related to rhetoric. Their similarities and differences will be discussed in the final section: Valla the Christian orator was no proponent of doubt, uncertainty and a suspension of judgement, even though at times he used strategies derived from Academic scepticism
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/156853406779159473
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,879
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

15 ( #171,637 of 1,725,162 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,161 of 1,725,162 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.