Pico, Plato, and Albert the Great: The Testimony and Evaluation of Agostino Nifo
Mahoney, Edward P.
Medieval Philosophy and Theology, vol. 2 (1992)
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494) is without doubt one of the most intriguing figures of the Italian Renaissance. It is thus no surprise that he has attracted the attention of many modern scholars. By reason of the varied interests that are reflected in his writings, contrasting interpretations of Pico have been proposed. Our purpose here is not to present a new and different picture of Pico but, rather, to offer a contribution to one fruitful area of research pursued by some recent historians of philosophy, namely, Pico’s debt to, anduse of, medieval philosophy in his overall philosophical enterprise.
Of particular concern will be the influence of Albert the Great on Pico, which can be established by a connection that has apparently not been noticed by Pico’s historians. A rather unusual interpretation that Pico offered of Plato’s notion of the soul will be shown to have already been set forth by Albert the Great, one of Pico’s favorite medieval sources.3 It will be argued that Pico drew this interpretation from Albert, possibly having forgotten its source.