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Vivarium 44 (2-3):205-247 (2006)

The late medieval discussion of 'nobility' defined in philosophical terms, produced a large number of writings, many of which are still unedited. Nevertheless, modern philosophical historiography has neglected the conceptual debates on nobility. Perhaps having assumed it to be a dead relic of the 'pre-illuminist' past, historians and philosophers understood 'nobility' as a non-philosophical issue and so it still appears in contemporary scholarship. The first aim of this essay is to draw attention to this issue by presenting a sort of preliminary catalogue of the different types of conceptualizations of 'mobility'. By exploring the meanings and philosophical employment of the expressions 'bene nasci' and 'bene natus', this article also reveals a new aspect of the Aristotelian notion of magnanimity.
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DOI 10.1163/156853406779159428
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