De nobilitate legum et medicine

In a letter sent to Pietro Turchi in February 1400, Salutati stated that he had already completed and published De nobilitate legum et medicine (Entry n. 41). Salutati viewed the subject of the pre-eminence of laws over medicine, already discussed extensively, in terms of the conflict between will and intellect, action and contemplation; as a result, it was one of a series of issues he considered fundamental.

He clearly formulates the discussion on moral grounds and states the supremacy of will as the prime faculty that guides and coordinates the subordinate action of the intellect, selecting objects that are morally valid and worthy of being known.

At the same time, he states that the active life, guided by will and governed by law, is superior to contemplative life, because it represents the only path through which man—through the virtue of his actions and inspired by divine grace—can reach his true end: heavenly beatitude in the presence and contemplation of God. This goal cannot be attained by those who lead a purely speculative life guided only by intellect, which—finite by nature—can never grasp the infinite essence of the Creator.