Dante Alighieri

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)
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Dante’s engagement with philosophy cannot be studied apart from his vocation as a writer, in which he sought to raise the level of public discourse by educating his countrymen and inspiring them to pursue happiness in the contemplative life. He was one of the most learned Italian laymen of his day, intimately familiar with Aristotelian logic and natural philosophy, theology, and classical literature. He is, of course,most famous for having written the Divine Comedy, but in his poetry as well as his philosophical treatises and other writings, he freely mingles and synthesizes philosophical and theological language as well extensive references and allusions to scripture and classical and contemporary poetry. While his contributions to world literature and other artistic genres are universally acknowledged, his theological imagination has also remained influential from his own time to the present day. His philosophical legacy, by comparison, remains more difficult to assess, though his writings provide, at the very least, a powerful tool for the study of the landscape of late medieval and Renaissance philosophy.



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