Aenigmatica varietas. Il paradosso come forma del filosofare fra Quattrocento e Cinquecento
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My thesis is focused on assessing the theoretical value of paradox in Renaissance philosophy, starting from the analysis of Latin and vernacular texts composed by Leon Battista Alberti, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Erasmo da Rotterdam and Ortensio Lando. The research is historically justified by the wide dissemination of paradoxical works in the XV and XVI centuries, due to the fortunate rediscovery of the ancient sophistical genre of ἐγκώι and to the high consideration humanists had for Luciano of Samosata’s playful, and yet edifying, writing-style. The purpose of the thesis is then to investigate whether such paradoxical works could represent something deeper than a simple jeu d’esprit, assuming subversive or defiant meanings as the very concept of paradox may lead to suggest. The results of the analysis point out how varied and widespread the use of paradox was in the Renaissance, employed as a conceptual tool able to allow philosophical reflection through unconventional channels, such as the uncovering of falsehood and the critical question of common opinion.