Padua School

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Padua School


in philosophy from the 14th through 16th centuries, a tendency that developed the traditions of Aristotelianism as interpreted by Averroës or by Alexander of Aphro-disias, a Greek commentator on Aristotle (late second through early third century). This philosophical tendency won a wide following in the university centers of northern Italy, including Padua, Mantua, Ferrara, and Bologna. Its emergence was linked with the work of a professor at the University of Padua, Peter of Abano (late 13th through early 14th centuries), who introduced and established the study of problems in the natural sciences and the study of Aristotelianism as interpreted by the Arab philosophers.

Closely associated with the Padua school was Marsiglio of Padua, who advocated the separation of politics from church authority and religious morality. Among the school’s adherents were a number of professors at the universities of Padua and

Bologna, including Angelo di Arezzo, Paolo Veneto, Gaetano da Thiene, Nicoletto Vernias, Pietro Trapolino, Marco Antonio Zimara, Alessandro Achillini, and Nifo.

The influence of Thomist ideas is evident in the philosophical systems of some of the school’s representatives during its later period. On the whole, elements of medieval freethinking were characteristic of the Padua school. Adopting the theory of double truth, the school’s adherents developed tenets materialist in tendency and irreconcilable with church teachings. Among these were a specific form of sensationalism in epistemology; the idea of the noncreation of the human species and the notion of man’s collective immortality, as well as the concept that mankind has a single immortal soul but that the individual soul is mortal; the doctrine of the lack of freedom of the human will; and the concept of natural determinism. The Padua school greatly influenced the Italian philosophers P. Pomponazzi, G. Bruno, and G. C. Vanini.


Renan, J. E. Averroes i averroizm. Kiev [1903]. (Translated from French.)
Nardi, B. Saggi sull’aristotelismo padovano dal secolo XIV al XVI. Florence [1958].
“Aristotelismo padovano e filosofia aristotelica.” Atti del XII Congresso internazionale di filosofia, vol. 9. Florence, 1960.
Randall, J. H. The School of Padua and the Emergence of Modern Science. Padua, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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