"Platonism", "Aristotelianism" and "Renaissancism" in Luca Pacioli's double-entry

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Abstract

The famous Tractatus XI particularis de computis et scripturis of Luca Pacioli (1494) marked a critical passage in the history of Ragioneria because, for the first time, it has claimed an explicit co-presence of practical, technical and theoretical aspects. But, since Paciolo was primarily “mathematicus rarissimus” e “theologus insignis”, his main motivations towards the double-entry should probably be found on motivations and knowledge of metadisciplinary level, chronologically foregoing and perhaps logically pre-eminent compared to the disciplinary ones.Therefore this paper aims to investigate whether, beyond his own initiation, he has felt for this kind of writing such an interest to include the Tractatus XI in his encyclopedic Summa not only for a disciplinary manifestation of a mere sensibility to the mercantile, a fortiori because he was not practicing the “art of accounts”, but firstly for a deep metadisciplinary maturation.The historiography has interpreted the Tractatus XI in a Platonist key, sometimes with some references to the incipient “modernism” of the Renaissance. And in fact friar Luca, as Franciscan, recognized himself in the fundamental ascendances and descendances of thought before and after the constitution, in the thirteenth century, of his Order; ascendances and descendances both linked to a Platonist thought, in which Agostino da Tagaste’s figure stands. But this thought ran in parallel with a second Western culture, consisting of the various ascendances and descendances Aristotelianism that, since the same century, assumed great importance as it inspired Tommaso d’Aquino and, through him, the coeval Dominican Order, the great protagonist together with the Franciscan one of history of the Christianity. This parallel development determined situations of rigidity and antithesis in all spheres of social life between the two Orders, but also dynamics of flexibility and synthesis, in particular within the cultural Renaissance period, in which Pacioli’s life and work are embedded.Therefore, we can accept the hypothesis that, in a disciplinary context of double-entry acting as a practice for a long time and as a technique for a bit less, in support of the incipient theory there has been a strong component of metadisciplinarity in terms of both Platonist and Aristotelian inspirations, with turmoil and grafts of Renaissancism; all according to an original and fertile eclecticism that did not degenerate into a confuse and sterile syncretism.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine14
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2013

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