The City of the Sun

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Journeyman, 1981 - Philosophy - 64 pages
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About the author (1981)

A radical and innovative thinker, Tommaso Campanella lived a stormy life that was characterized by charges of political intrigue, imprisonment, philosophical speculation, poetic inspiration, and the practice of magic. Today he is best known as a political philosopher, author of the famous utopia, The City of the Sun (c.1602). Like his contemporary Giordano Bruno, Campanella emerged from the intellectual milieu of the Dominican order in southern Italy with a philosophical orientation that authorities considered heretical and dangerous. Imprisoned at Naples in 1599 (the year before Bruno's execution) on charges of heresy and plotting against Spanish rule, he was not released until 1626. Following another period of imprisonment at Rome and an examination of his views by the Roman Inquisition, he fled Italy in 1634, taking refuge in Paris, where he lived his last years. Before his imprisonment the defense by Bernardino Telesio of a naturalistic, empirically grounded philosophy of nature against the dominant Aristotelianism of the university deeply influenced Campanella. From Telesio he adopted the notions of heat and cold as active principles operative on matter, space, and time as prior to, and independent of, bodies and the concept of spirit as a corporeal power responsible for sensation and distinct from the intellective mind infused into humans by God. These doctrines gave a strongly naturalistic character to Campanella's concept of nature and humankind, but they were combined with an interest in magic that had its origins in ancient Neoplatonism and Hermeticism.

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