My thesis sheds light on a very important aspect of Polish and European history of thought; namely, how ideas of the humanist movement that were born in Renaissance Florence spread to Western and Central Europe. The specific notion of human dignity in Polish Renaissance philosophy influenced ideas of tolerance and enriched the political and philosophical debate in Poland. The thesis will deepen and broaden the picture of Renaissance Europe by adding the Polish contribution to the great heritage of the Renaissance epoch.
In my thesis I analyze Jan ze Trzciany, Arudinensis’ (1554) treatise, concerning human dignity, De Natura Ac Dignitate Hominis. I will use the philosopher’s names interchangeably. That is, Trzciana or Jan ze Trzciany, and his Latin equivalent, Arudinensis. I will compare his treatise to Mikołaj Dłuski’s short speech on human dignity, De Praestantia et excellentia humanae naturae from 1561. Dłuski, a devoted Calvinist, participated actively in political life. He was also a member of parliament. Trzciana’s optimistic view on human nature and possibilities will be juxtaposed to Dłuskis’s more skeptical approach, which was typical for thinkers from the second half of the 16th-century. This thesis will provide insight into the concept of dignity within the Polish Renaissance. The two analyzed works are examples of the changing of views concerning human dignity from an optimistic versus pessimistic perspective in the mid-16th-century.
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