What It Meant to Be Human in the Renaissance: Human Potential and Shaping a Self
David Fideler

November 15, 2023, 9:30am - 11:30am
The British Institute of Florence

Farragamo Room
Lungarno Guicciardini 9
Florence 50125


  • The Renaissance Program

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Every person is born human, and inherent within each of us is a potential that, over time, unfolds and can be actualized.

These ideas of self-development and of living more fully as human beings held great importance for Renaissance humanists. Within their cultural agenda, the humanists sought both to foster the development of more excellent human beings and to build a more vibrant and fulfilling society.

In this keynote address of the 2023 Renaissance Program, philosopher David Fideler examines what developing one’s humanity meant in the Renaissance. The talk also explores the deep-rooted sense of optimism and self-confidence that catalyzed the emergence of the Renaissance and inspired its innovative educational approaches.

Did the Renaissance’s optimistic perspective about human nature ever overreach? Could it serve as a lesson for us today in our “age of diminished expectations”? Lastly, could Renaissance educational philosophies help revitalize contemporary views on education and human potential?

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