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Dante’S Understanding Of The Two Ends Of Human Desire And The Relationship Between Philosophy And Theology, Jason Aleksander Apr 2011

Dante’S Understanding Of The Two Ends Of Human Desire And The Relationship Between Philosophy And Theology, Jason Aleksander

Faculty Publications

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 ...