Marsilio Ficino and Melancholy. Determinant Condition or Space of Freedom?


  • Valentina Zaffino Pontifical Lateran University



Marsilio Ficino, Melancholy, Immortality of the Soul, Free Will, Determinism


The purpose of this paper is twofold: on the one hand it aims to demonstrate that, despite what historiography has hitherto dealt with, according to Marsilio Ficino, the notion of melancholy does not just have a positive meaning, but he also assumes the traditional understanding of this phenomenon, which is considered as a proper disease. If in the former case the melancholic excels in the arts and sciences, in the latter case he lives a deep state of affliction and withdrawal into himself, which has serious consequences, such as doubt about the immortality of the soul. After highlighting This aspect of the problem, the paper will reconstruct Ficino’s position on free will. It will be investigated whether melancholy allows some kind of self-determination for people subjected to the determining action of Saturn and, more generally, of celestial bodies.





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