Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Fate, Renaissance Concept of

  • Valentina Zaffino
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_671-1

Abstract

The term fate (heimarmenē in Greek, fatum in Latin) can be understood in different ways. Ancient tradition sometimes likened it to the idea of chance (tyche) to signify the unfathomable force that governs cosmic events. On a more strictly philosophical level, fate indicated the unfailing causal order regulating the course of events. This order was at times identified with divine providence itself or as its subordinate, depending on whether the existence of a supernatural causality had been accepted. The concept of fate also has logical and ethical implications. It involves the possibility of moral conduct and mankind’s responsibility for it. These themes were associated by Christianity with the issue of divine grace and human predestination, both of which were extensively discussed during the Renaissance. It was at this time that several authors turned their attention to the subject of fate and its opposite, the theme of mankind’s freedom. Therefore, the debate over fate is first and foremost part of the wider discussion over predestination and free will, which was based on an ancient and late antique legacy that acquired a distinctly religious meaning with Erasmus of Rotterdam and Martin Luther. The debate mainly concerned how human behavior affected the soul’s eternal salvation and the role Christ’s grace played in the process. The issue of predestination was also crucial in the theological controversies that led to the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century. In addition, Renaissance philosophers argued over whether cosmic influences affected human events and whether the planets governed human life by affecting bodily fluids. This debate had a remarkable impact on the early modern age, especially on Hobbes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Hume, and the French Enlightenment.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Adorno, F.P., and L. Foisneau, eds. 2002. L’efficacia della volontà nel xvi e xvii secolo. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura.Google Scholar
  2. Bertozzi, M., ed. 2008. Nello specchio del cielo. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola e le Disputationes contro l’astrologia divinatoria. Florence: Olschki.Google Scholar
  3. Blum, P.R. 2004. Philosophieren in der Renaissance. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.Google Scholar
  4. d’Hoine, P., and G. Van Riel, eds. 2014. Fate, providence and moral responsability in ancient, medieval and early modern thought. Leuven: Leuven University Press.Google Scholar
  5. De Caro, M., et al., eds. 2014. Libero arbitrio. Storia di una controversia filosofica. Rome: Carocci.Google Scholar
  6. De Michelis Pintacuda, F. 2001. Tra Erasmo e Lutero. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura.Google Scholar
  7. Flasch, K. 1998. Nikolaus von Kues. Geschichte einer Entwicklung. Frankfurt: Klostermann.Google Scholar
  8. Garin, E. 1983. Astrology in the renaissance: The zodiac of life. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Halverson, J. 1998. Peter Aureol on predestination: A challenge to late medieval thought. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  10. Hankins, J., ed. 2007. The Cambridge companion to renaissance philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Klibansky, R., et al. 1964. Saturn and melancholy. Studies in the history of natural philosophy, religion, and art. London: Nelson.Google Scholar
  12. Knebel, S.K.W. 2000. Wille, Würfel und Wahrscheinlichkeit. Das System der moralischen Notwendigkeit in der Jesuitenscholastik 1550–1700. Hamburg: Meiner.Google Scholar
  13. Lagerlund, H., and B. Hill, eds. 2017. Routledge companion to sixteenth-century philosophy. New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. McGrath, A.E. 1986. Iustitia Dei: A history of the Christian doctrine of justification. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. McGrath, A.E. 1987. The intellectual origins of the European reformation. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  16. Nicholas of Cusa. 2004. In Opera omnia, XVIII: Sermones III (1452–1455), ed. S. Donati et al. Hamburg: Felix Meiner.Google Scholar
  17. O’Higgins, J. 1976. Determinism and free will. Anthony Collins’ “a philosophical inquiry concerning luman liberty”. The Hague: Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  18. Oberman, H.A. 1981. Masters of the reformation: The emergence of a new intellectual climate in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni. 2012. Oration on the dignity of man, ed. and trans. F. Borghesi et al. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Poppi, A. 1988. Fate, fortune, providence and human freedom. In The Cambridge history of renaissance philosophy, ed. C.B. Schmitt et al., 641–647. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Schneewind, J.B. 1998. The invention of autonomy: A history of modern moral philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Skinner, Q. 2006. Virtù rinascimentali. Genoa: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  23. Torzini, R. 2000. I labirinti del libero arbitrio. La discussione tra Erasmo e Lutero. Firenze: Olschki.Google Scholar
  24. Wawrykow, J.P. 1995. God’s grace and human action: “Merit” in the theology of Thomas Aquinas. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyPontifical Lateran UniversityRomeVatican City State

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jill Kraye
    • 1
  1. 1.THE WARBURG INSTITUTELondonUK