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).