Arguing that Dante ultimately views compulsion in the erotic sphere as part and parcel of compulsion in the properly philosophical sphere, aka determinism, this article traces Dante’s variable thinking on this core issue as he veers from a moralistic view in the Vita Nuova to a more “scientific” view in the third epistle and again to a moralistic view in the Commedia (whose circle of lust boasts, in the wind that buffets the lustful, an example of compulsion borrowed from Nicomachean Ethics 3.1). The philosopher and astrologer Cecco d’Ascoli is a contemporary witness to the philosophical importance of these issues: in his philosophical poem Acerba, Cecco attacks Dante’s love poetry for harboring deterministic belief.

You do not currently have access to this content.