Agostino Nifo - Encyclopedia




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AGOSTINO NIFO (AUGUSTINUS NIPHUS) (c. 1473-1538 or 1545), Italian philosopher and commentator, was born at Japoli in Calabria. He settled for a time at Sezza and subsequently proceeded to Padua, where he studied philosophy. He lectured at Padua, Naples, Rome and Pisa, and won so high a reputation that he was deputed by Leo X. to defend the Catholic doctrine of Immortality against the attack of Pomponazzi and the Alexandrists. In return for this he was made Count Palatine, with the right to call himself by the name Medici. In his early thought he followed Averroes, but afterwards modified his views so far as to make himself acceptable to the orthodox Catholics. In 1495 he produced an edition of the works of Averroes; with a commentary compatible with his acquired orthodoxy. In the great controversy with the Alexandrists he opposed the theory of Pomponazzi that the rational soul is inseparably bound up with the material part of the individual, and hence that the death of the body carries with it the death of the soul. He insisted that the individual soul, as part of absolute intellect, is indestructible, and on the death of the body is merged in the eternal unity.

His principal philosophical works are De immortalitate animi (1518 and 1524); De intellectu et daemonibus; De infinitate primi motoris quaestio and Opuscula moralia et politica. His numerous commentaries on Aristotle were widely read and frequently reprinted, the best-known edition being one printed at Paris in 1654 in fourteen volumes (including the Opuscula).

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