Charles Trinkaus wrote that “for Lorenzo Valla truth was only denable subjectively.”2 Valla says in his Repastinatio: “e true or the truth is a quality present in the sense of the mind and in speech, as in ‘Does he truly feel that?’ ‘Does he speak truly?’”3 Because truth is related not only to thought and feeling but to speech as well, Trinkaus argues that for Valla truth has ethical implications. It underlies our capacity for erroneous moral judgment no less than for deceptive or mendacious speech. us, Trinkaus correlates truth and falsehood with virtue and vice and links both to the nature of the soul as an image of the Holy Trinity.4 He also emphasizes the centrality of light and illumination, particularly with respect to the knowledge that guides moral action: “From adhering to right and doing what right orders, this quality [justice] is named. at quality [right] emanates from truth, this [justice] from will.”5 Despite its implications for moral action, in the end Valla ties truth to cognitive states: “For to know, or be wise, or understand, is nothing except to believe and feel about things just as they are constituted (credere ac sentire de rebus ita ut sese habent), and this is called truth.”6 is passage makes clear Valla’s reduction of knowledge, wisdom and understanding to belief and feeling and their relationship to the way that things are in themselves. Just how that relation is to be dened is not clear. e human knower, however, constitutes one side of the relation, and the predicate “true” applies primarily to the knower’s beliefs and feelings. For that reason Professor Trinkaus has argued that Valla’s conception of truth is primarily

2 Trinkaus 1983: 441. 3 Valla Dialectical Disputations, cited in Trinkaus 1983: 441. See Valla ed. Zippel 1982:

Vol. 2, 377 . 4 Although moral philosophy is of major interest to humanists, and Christian theology

is vital for Valla, both fall beyond the scope of this study. ese topics are usefully explored in the writings of Trinkaus 1968; Camporeale 1972; Monfasani 1994, 2004.