Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Docta Ignorantia

  • Andrea FiammaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_1001-1
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Abstract

The expression docta ignorantia (“learned ignorance”) refers to a gnosiological doctrine by Nicholas of Cusa emphasizing human structural inability to know the truth. Cusanus states that human mind is characterized by the fact that it builds relationships between the things, moves itself belonging to quantity and quality and between things opposed to each other. But truth has neither quality nor quantity, and it is the infinite coincidence of the opposites. So, mind because of its finitude is inadequate for knowing the truth. The learned ignorance doctrine stems from Nicholas of Cusa’s reworking of Dionysius’ Mystical Theology. It has been conceived in contrast to scholastic gnosiology and rests on the claim that there can be no correspondence between intellect and things. In the sixteenth century, this doctrine becomes widespread especially in France.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.D’Annunzio University of Chieti-PescaraChietiItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna Laura Puliafito
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität BaselBaselSwitzerland