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Pico della Mirandola was an Italian writer, thinker, and philosopher. Born Giovanni Francesco Pico della Mirandola in 1463 near Ferrara, Pico was a central figure of the Umanesimo (Humanism, European intellectual movement rejecting knowledge received by God or books). He was precocious and attended university at age 14 to pursue canonical studies, but dropped out for other interests. He was a young man with deep knowledge, but he didn't consider his work erudite: he said in fact that he preferred substance to writing style. In 1890 British scholar JM Rigg, in the introduction of the book His Life by His Nephew Giovanni Francesco Pico translated by Sir Thomas More, described the young Pico as the 'Phænix of the wits' with immense energy and an almost feminine beauty. During his travels, Pico became close to Lorenzo Il Magnifico (Lorenzo De Medici, Florentine statesman: Pico bought many books for his library and dedicated Heptaplus to Lorenzo). He also mingled and exchanged letters with Angelo Poliziano (Politian, poet), and Marsilio Ficino (humanist Italian scholar and priest), who first translated Plato's works into Latin. Pico lived a short life and died at 30 of an infection (still common at the time, after the black death), months after Lorenzo. He learned Hebrew and was influenced by Cabalistic theories which are obvious in his writings. At 23, he organized a council, that he called a competition, with the most influential doctors and scholars of the time, to debate his work of the 900 theses. Most of them were initially approved by Pope Innocent VIII, but later, thirteen were considered unsuitable for publication and were flagged as heresy. A special commission reviewed his work, but the sentence was set in stone. He wrote an apologia in his defense, and escaped to France, where he was briefly incarcerated; then returned to Italy after being pardoned by king Alexander VI. His major works include poetry (mostly lost), letters, Opus Aureum, Ente et Uno, Heptaplus, and the highly acclaimed Oration on the Dignity of Man.
This illustrated book is particularly useful for students and researchers who prefer snippets, images, and keywords to assimilate key concepts on abstruse topics. Some will notice how Pico theories read more like a self-help book rather than philosophy.

For years, any subject that smelled philosophy, was intoxicated to me. It didn't seem to have any practical application in life, and getting a degree was a sure ticket to the unemployment office, unless you wanted to become a professor. My mother was a journalist with a few degrees; the house was flooded with books (and chinaware), and wasn't offended by my comments. Philosophy per se, could be scaring to some, and seems to come to a dead end today, but it's a science that fosters lateral thinking, and helps a great deal in arguments, politics, law (court cases), and anything that requires reasoning. Most philosophers were polymaths. Simply, when you get hooked, self-help books become almost useless, because the great thinkers of the last two thousand years worked hard to make things less complicated when someone is trying to eat you alive.

Biografias e memórias
16 Agosto
Alfonso Borello
Smashwords, Inc.

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