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Which language should philosophers use: technical or common language? In a book as important for intellectual historians as it is for philosophers, Lodi Nauta addresses a vital question which still has resonance today: is the discipline of philosophy assisted or disadvantaged by employing a special vocabulary? By the Middle Ages philosophy had become a highly technical discipline, with its own lexicon and methods. The Renaissance humanist critique of this specialised language has been dismissed as philosophically superficial, but the author demonstrates that it makes a crucial point: it is through the misuse of language that philosophical problems arise. He charts the influence of this critique on early modern philosophers, including Hobbes and Locke, and shows how it led to the downfall of medieval Aristotelianism and the gradual democratization of language and knowledge. His book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the transition from medieval to modern philosophy.
Originally published in 1951, this concise book presents an engaging study of the works and influence of the renowned English philosopher Ralph Cudworth (1617–88), the leader of the Cambridge Platonists. A bibliography of writings by and about Cudworth is also included, together with an appendix section on his manuscripts. The text was an early work by Australian philosopher and historian of ideas John Passmore (1914–2004). This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in Cudworth, the Cambridge Platonists and the historical development of philosophy.
Garrett Sullivan explores the changing impact of Aristotelian conceptions of vitality and humanness on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature before and after the rise of Descartes. Aristotle's tripartite soul is usually considered in relation to concepts of psychology and physiology. However, Sullivan argues that its significance is much greater, constituting a theory of vitality that simultaneously distinguishes man from, and connects him to, other forms of life. He contends that, in works such as Sidney's Old Arcadia, Shakespeare's Henry IV and Henry V, Spenser's Faerie Queene, Milton's Paradise Lost and Dryden's All for Love, the genres of epic and romance, whose operations are informed by Aristotle's theory, provide the raw materials for exploring different models of humanness; and that sleep is the vehicle for such exploration as it blurs distinctions among man, plant and animal.
The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Philosophy, published in 2007, provides an introduction to a complex period of change in the subject matter and practice of philosophy. The philosophy of the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries is often seen as transitional between the scholastic philosophy of the Middle Ages and modern philosophy, but the essays collected here, by a distinguished international team of contributors, call these assumptions into question, emphasizing both the continuity with scholastic philosophy and the role of Renaissance philosophy in the emergence of modernity. They explore the ways in which the science, religion and politics of the period reflect and are reflected in its philosophical life, and they emphasize the dynamism and pluralism of a period which saw both new perspectives and enduring contributions to the history of philosophy. This will be an invaluable guide for students of philosophy, intellectual historians, and all who are interested in Renaissance thought.
This volume provides a comprehensive presentation of the philosophical work of the fifteenth-century Renaissance thinker Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. In essays specially commissioned for this book, a distinguished group of scholars presents the central topics and texts of Pico's literary output. Best known as the author of the celebrated 'Oration on the Dignity of Man', Pico also wrote several other prominent works. They include an influential diatribe against astrology, an ambitious metaphysical treatise attempting to reconcile Platonic and Aristotelian metaphysical views, and writings on a range of subjects such as magic, Kabbalah, the Church, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of knowledge. The first volume of its kind in English, this collection of essays will be of value not only to advanced students and specialists of late medieval and Renaissance thought, but also to those interested in Italian humanism and Renaissance Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism.
Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592), the great Renaissance skeptic and pioneer of the essay form, is known for his innovative method of philosophical inquiry which mixes the anecdotal and the personal with serious critiques of human knowledge, politics and the law. He is the first European writer to be intensely interested in the representations of his own intimate life, including not just his reflections and emotions but also the state of his body. His rejection of fanaticism and cruelty and his admiration for the civilizations of the New World mark him out as a predecessor of modern notions of tolerance and acceptance of otherness. In this volume an international team of contributors explores the range of his philosophy and also examines the social and intellectual contexts in which his thought was expressed.
Michel de Montaigne, the inventor of the essay, has always been acknowledged as a great literary figure but has never been thought of as a philosophical original. This book treats Montaigne as a serious thinker in his own right, taking as its point of departure Montaigne's description of himself as 'an unpremeditated and accidental philosopher'. Whereas previous commentators have treated Montaigne's Essays as embodying a scepticism harking back to classical sources, Ann Hartle offers an account that reveals Montaigne's thought to be dialectical, transforming sceptical doubt into wonder at the most familiar aspects of life. This major reassessment of a much admired but also much underestimated thinker will interest a wide range of historians of philosophy as well as scholars in comparative literature, French studies and the history of ideas.
Francis Bacon (1561–1626) is one of the most important figures of the early modern era. His plan for scientific reform played a central role in the birth of the new science. The essays in this volume offer a comprehensive survey of his writings on science, including his classifications of sciences, his theory of knowledge and of forms, his speculative philosophy, his idea of cooperative scientific research and the providential aspects of Baconian science. There are also essays on Bacon's theory of rhetoric and history as well as on his moral and political philosophy and on his legacy. Throughout, the contributors aim to place Bacon in his historical context.
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