Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2011

Abstract

I discuss Dante’s understanding that human existence is “ordered by two final goals” and how this understanding defines philosophy’s and theology’s respective scopes of authority in guiding human conduct. I show that, while Dante devalues the philosophical authority associated with the traditional Aristotelian emphasis on the significance of contemplative activity, he does so in order to highlight philosophy’s ethico-political authority to guide human conduct toward its “earthly beatitude.” Moreover, I argue that, although Dante subordinates earthly beatitude to spiritual beatitude, he nonetheless maintains that philosophy’s authority to reveal a path to spiritual beatitude requires its fundamental independence from theology.

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