Pico Della Mirandola: Of Being and Unity (Medieval Philosophical Texts in Translation)

Pico Della Mirandola: Of Being and Unity (Medieval Philosophical Texts in Translation)

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You were telling me lately of the dispute which you and Lorenzo de' Medici had concerning being and unity, and how, taking his stand with the Platonists, that man of a genius so powerful and versatile that he seems made for all things, who finds (wonderful to relate!) even in the incessant occupations of the State leisure for some literary study or conversation, argued against Aristotle, whose Ethics you expounded publicly this year. And since those who estrange Aristotle from Plato estrange themselves also from my point of view -- for I hold to the concord of both systems --, you ask me how we might defend the Stagirite on this point and bring him into agreement with his master, Plato. I have told you what came into my mind at that time, and it was rather a confirmation of your own objections against Lorenzo than a contribution of anything new. But you are not content with that. Without waiting for the developments which will come to the subject in my future Concord of Plato and Aristotle,2 you beg me to run over for you now, in the shape of a brief commentary, those things which I told you in the presence of our friend Domenico Benevieni, so dear to us for his knowledge and his integrity. How can I refuse you? Especially in a literary matter like this, and in the case of a friend who is almost my self? Pardon me, nevertheless, if I risk at times to employ words which perhaps have not yet received the stamp of true Latinity. The novelty of the subject, and I might almost say necessity, have demanded this license. Do not then expect a style too elegant and chaste. As our Malius3 says, the subject itself needs no ornament; simple exposition is enough. The following, therefore, if I remember well, were the things about which we had a discussion.