© 2017

Boccaccio the Philosopher

An Epistemology of the Decameron


Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Table of contents

About this book


This book explores the tangled relationship between literary production and epistemological foundation as exemplified in one of the masterpieces of  Italian literature. Filippo Andrei argues that Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron has a significant though concealed engagement with philosophy, and that the philosophical implications of its narratives can be understood through an epistemological approach to the text. He analyzes the influence of Dante, Petrarch, Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, and other classical and medieval thinkers on Boccaccio's attitudes towards ethics and knowledge-seeking.  Beyond providing an epistemological reading of the Decameron, this book also evaluates how a theoretical reflection on the nature of rhetoric and poetic imagination can ultimately elicit a theory of knowledge.   


exemplum tradition Genealogie deorum gentilium Neo-Platonic epistemology Boccaccio's theories on knowledge acquisition Second Day of the Decameron and Dante's Commedia Connection between rhetoric and knowledge Boccaccio and rhetoric Ethics in the Decameron medieval concept of honesty Influence of Thomas Aquinas on Boccaccio Influence of Aristotle on Boccaccio Natural Law, Thomistic ethics, and the Decameron Boccaccio's attitude towards philosophy Influence of Petrarch on Boccaccio Elegia di Costanza Filocolo Boccaccio's experiences at the Studium of the Biblioteca Reale Boccaccio's storytelling and wisdom Medieval Italian poetry and philosophy Boccaccio and cognition

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.International Program in FlorenceCalifornia State UniversityFlorenceItaly

About the authors

Filippo Andrei is Adjunct Professor at the California State University International Program in Florence. He has previously held the position of Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. Born in Florence, his research interests include Italian Literature, Romance Philology and Medieval Latin Literature. His essays have appeared in several specialized journals.

Bibliographic information