I have a new article out this week in Rhetorica on Lorenzo Valla’s use of the notion of certainty, specifically as the notion is theorized in the writings of Quintilian. You can find the official abstract at the above link, but since the abstract is written in German, I’ve posted an English version here, too:
At the center of Valla’s refashioning of dialectic as a rhetorical practice is a novel understanding of certainty taken from Quintilian’s handbook, an understanding of certainty rooted in what is agreed upon rather than what is objectively true. By separating certum from verum and by presenting dialectic as the practice of drawing out confessions rather than proving logical truths in his Dialecticae Disputationes, Valla recasts philosophical argumentation as a forensic project of crafting consensus-based certainties. In several other works, too, including his Elegantiae and marginal commentary on Quintilian’s Institutio itself, Valla consistently uses a set of vocabulary to link certainty with consensus, particularly the understanding of consensus at the heart of the ancient inventional strategy of status theory.