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Renaissance Philosophy

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edit classify history index Renaissance Philosophy

Florence, Italy, a center of Renaissance power, thought and culture


The Renaissance as a movement and Philosophy is described as the reaching back for classical models in Medieval Europe, the search for naturalism over stylism in Art, the reemergence of Mathematics as intimately related to philosophy. The triggers generally held to be important are the expansion of trade with China and India, the Printing Press, and the revival of learning. Greek was studied again in Italy in the mid 14th century, and in 1462 a “Platonic Academy” was founded in Florence by Cosimo de Medici.

The word now used for one of the most important threads of the Renaissance is “Humanism”, an increasing focus on the temporal and personal over merely seeing this world as a gateway to the Christian afterlife. Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494) wrote Oratio de Hominis Dignitate or Discourse on the Dignity of Man in 1486. Sometimes called “the manifesto of the Renaissance”, it invokes Plato and Aristotle to argue for a conception of human worth rooted, which, while rooted in faith, spreads to a belief in the importance of the human ability to encompass all knowledge.

History

In his book The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, Jacob Burckhardt argued that, beginning in the 14th century a transformation in outlook and ideas began in Italy which would later cover all of Europe. The period is now generally thought to begin around 1450, with several figures, notably Dante Alighieri, Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio being seen as being part of the Renaissance, despite being much earlier.

As with all periods, there is a wide drift of dates, reasons for catagorization and boundaries. In particular the Renaissance, more than later periods, is thought to roll through Europe. The “Renaissance” in England is often thought to include Shakespeare and Marlowe, for example, at a time when Italy is thought to have passed through Mannerism and to the Baroque. As importantly the 16th century is split (see lumpers/splitters) differently. Some historians see the Reformation and Counter-Reformation as being separated and more important for Philosophy, while others see the entire era as one sweeping period.

Renaissance Philosophers





Some content adapted from the Wikinfo article “Renaissance_philosophy” under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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