Was Lorenzo Valla an Ordinary Language Philosopher?

Youyang Xu


The humanist Lorenzo Valla's use of consuetudo against philosophical usage in his book Repastinatio Dialectice et Philosophie has led Waswo to argue that Valla was a Renaissance 'ordinary language philosopher'. Monfasani and Mack vehemently reject this assertion, claiming that the standards of usage invoked by Valla are not 'ordinary language' in the modern sense, but classical Latin, the standards set by the cultural elite. Monfasani argues that 'consuetudo' is not an absolute criterion for Valla's humanist philosophy, and that Valla's Repastinatio Dialectice et Philosophie should be reassessed in terms of etymology and grammatical analysis. But 'consuetudo' does not exclude etymology and grammatical analysis. So instead of taking a negative attitude towards Valla's relationship with the philosophy of ordinary language, it is better to keep an open mind towards the Repastinatio Dialectice et Philosophie in the first place. This paper is such an attempt to start from the 'consuetudo' invoked by Valla, to examine Valla's philosophical attitude from etymological and grammatical analyses in the light of the Latin translations of οὐσία and τὸ ὄν , to rethink the relationship between Valla and the philosophy of ordinary language, and to reassess in relation to the philosophy of ordinary language.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v12i3.6930


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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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