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Earth’s Soul And Spontaneous Generation: Fortunio Liceti’s Criticism Of Ficino’s Ideas On The Origin Of Life

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on Marsilio Ficino theory of spontaneous generation. For this purpose, the criticism formulated by a Paduan professor of philosophy, Fortunio Liceti, seems to serve as the best guide. In the late fifteenth century, Ficino, considerably developing the doctrine of the World-Soul and its application to spontaneous generation, introduced a new 'Platonic' perspective on the question. The chapter analyzes Liceti's Aristotelian critique of Ficino's theory written in the early seventeenth century, on the threshold of the Scientific Revolution. In order to understand Liceti's argument, the author examines his discussions on the World-Soul and the Ideas, and then analyzes his criticism of Ficino. Liceti examines the view of the second group, called 'major Platonists', to whom the immediate agents of spontaneous generation are Ideas. Liceti takes up Ficino's theory of the 'earth's soul', as developed fully in the fourth book of the Platonic Theology on the Immortality of Souls.

Keywords: criticism; Fortunio Liceti; Marsilio Ficino theory; philosophy; Platonists; Scientific Revolution; spontaneous generation; World-Soul



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