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Index by Period

The Renaissance and Reformation
(1400 - 1600)

The change from Scholastic to modern philosophy was gradual, and, while its course is not easy to follow, the causes which led to the change are not far to seek. First among these must be mentioned the decay of Scholasticism itself. The representatives of Scholastic philosophy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries seem for the most part to have completely forgotten the principles of the classic Scholasticism of the thirteenth century. Busying themselves with subtleties too refined to be grasped even by the learned, they utterly neglected the study of the scientific movement of their own day, and, in defiance of the method sanctioned by usage in the schools of the Golden Age of Scholasticism, raised the argument from authority to a position of undue importance. There were, however, as we shall see, some notable exceptions to this.

The decay of philosophical speculation in the schools and universities of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the humanistic movement, the rapid progress of the natural sciences, and the influence of the first reformers contributed to bring about the transition from Scholastic to modern philosophy. Mention must also be made of the political condition of the times, the disintegration of the idea of a united Christian empire, the growth of the idea of the political individuality of nations, the discovery of America, the invention of the art of printing, all of which necessitated a development and adaptation of speculative thought to the changed conditions of the time. That Scholastic philosophy was capable of such development and adaptation must be admitted by all who recognize that thought is continuous in its historical evolution; and if such development and adaptation did not take place, the fault lay with those who failed to put Scholasticism in its true light at this the most critical period in its history.

A modern term used (sometimes pejoratively) of the position that focuses on human values and needs without special concern for arbitrary religious traditions or values. Also applied more traditionally to the embracing of classical Greek and Latin values, rediscovered through classical learning.

Name given to the protestant Christian movements (and the period itself) in the 16th century in which Roman Catholicism was opposed in the interest of "reforming" Christianity to what was considered its earliest known form (found in the New Testament).

Political Philosophy & Philosophy of Law

Scientific Philosophy
16th century movement: Nikolaus of Cusa, Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, and their influence on Bacon

Philosophers Related Articles
Tommaso Campanella
The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries
The Sixteenth Century
Scholastics of the Transition Period
Italian Philosophy of Nature


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