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Tommaso Campanella and Jean de Launoy: The Controversy over Aristotle and his Reception in the West

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

John M. Headley*
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


In his first published work, the Philosophy Demonstrated by the Senses (Naples, 1591), Tommaso Campanella evinced at the outset of his long intellectual career that abiding and most pronounced feature of his entire philosophical position, namely, an opposition to Aristotle. The product of a twenty-one year old man, this book conveys a fresh empiricism and is significantly untainted by the impact of astrology or the occultism of G. B. Delia Porta or the later political religious interests impelled by a personal messianism that would shape his thought.

Copyright © Renaissance Society of America 1990

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I wish to thank my colleagues Professors Peter Iver Kaufman (UNC) and Ronald G. Witt (Duke University) for their helpful criticism of this paper. Only after the paper was in press did I discover the excellent article by M. P. Lerner, "Campanelle, juge d'Aristote", Platon et Aristote à la Renaissance (XVI Colloque International de Tours [Paris, 1976]), 335-57. Lerner effectively elaborates Campanula's efforts to uncouple Saint Thomas from Aristotle and notes in passing Launoy's awareness of Campanella, but he confuses the bibliographic evidence (cf. 346, 357, nn. 79, 80) and is unaware of Campanella's reaction to Launoy.


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