According to a Renaissance philosopher named Baldassare Castiglione (in his The

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Jul 29, 2022



According to a Renaissance philosopher named Baldassare Castiglione (in his The

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According to a Renaissance philosopher named Baldassare Castiglione (in his The Book of the Courtier), a Renaissance Man/Woman has six traits:
Citizen (or contributes to his or her community)
Gentleman (or Gentlewoman), i.e., has social intelligence/decorum
Christian (or has a spiritual life)
As we saw in the reading “Thales and the Halys” (by Mott Greene), a Renaissance Man wasn’t rare in the Greek world. Part of Greek culture was to strive after plural excellence, to be full, well-rounded human being.
In fact, the word “renaissance” means “rebirth” in French. Historians have called the period in European history between 1300-1600 “Renaissance” because there seemed to be a “rebirth” of Greek values, like the exaltation of humanity and our capabilities.
Greene, though, argues we in our modern world tend to put more emphasis on specialization. We often operate in dichotomies like “nerd” vs. “jock.” But in Greek culture you could be both. Plato, for example, was a great philosopher and a star wrestler.
You can learn more about Castiglione here:
And you can learn more about the Renaissance here:
Discussion Question:
How possible is it to be a “Renaissance Man”? Isn’t it better to specialize? For example, if you’re going to be a doctor, would writing a play rob you of being a good doctor? To be good in one of the traits Castiglione lists above, shouldn’t a person just focus on that one? What’s your take?
Feel free to use Aristotle’s idea that all humans have three basic capacities or refer to the story of “Prometheus,” a tale about the nature of humanity, to make your argument.
Discussion Notes:
You will not see your classmates posts until you post an original thought.
After you post your original thought, you will then see your classmates posts.
Respond to at least TWO other classmates. And make sure each reply is between 3-5 sentences.
Original thought is due by Weds. Replies to your classmates are due by Friday (and no later than Saturday).
Required Length: 1 Paragraph. Use a Thesis statement and develop an argument why you think so. (A thesis statement is just a one-sentence answer to my questions above.)


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