Juan Luis Vives and the Emotions

Juan Luis Vives and the Emotions

Juan Luis Vives and the Emotions

Juan Luis Vives and the Emotions


Anticipating the fifth centennial of Vives' birth in 1992, this is the first comprehensive study of two of Vives' main works, De Anima et Vita, Book 3 and De Prima Philosophia, accompanied by the first general biography based on recent research.

Juan Luis Vives was a Spanish sixteenth-century humanist who spent most of his life as an exile in England and the Low Countries. De Anima et Vita, the third book of which makes up the tract on emotions, represents the culmination of Vives' effort to understand human nature.

Noreña has organized Vives and the Emotions into three parts. Part one incorporates recent research on Vives and corrects some of the inaccuracies of Noreña's 1970 Luis Vives. He provides expanded accounts of Vives' attitude toward Erasmus and religion, his reaction to terminist logic, his social and legal views, and his contributions to Renaissance pedagogy. The second part of the book examines in detail one of Vives' most philosophical and forgotten tracts, a lengthy summary of his metaphysical views published in 1531 under the title De Prima Philosophia seu de Intimo Naturae Opificio, which is probably the most speculative of Vives' works. Part three compares Vives' thoughts on emotion to those of Aristotle, some ancient Stoic sources, Saint Thomas, Descartes, and Spinoza, while dividing the entire material under such headings as the nature, the classification, the interaction, and the therapeutic control of emotion.


George Kimball Plochmann

A RISTOTLE COMMENCED ONE OF the books of his Metaphysics by remarking: "The investigation of truth is in one sense difficult, in another easy. A sign of this is the fact that neither can one attain it adequately, nor do all fail, but each says something about the nature of things; and while each of us contributes nothing or little to the truth, a considerable amount of it results from all our contributions" (II.1.993a30-34; Apostle translation). This applies, of course, to Juan Luis Vives, whose labors, regardless of what he actually sought, could not encompass the whole truth, even that regarding a specific subject matter, but which did succeed in advancing human understanding in several parts of that whole. Incidentally, Aristotle might have added that the truths that have been found are often forgotten by later arrivals on the field, and this, too, applies to Vives, many of whose sharp and somewhat morose observations and clear-cut descriptions of human emotions were long put aside.

This philosopher-humanist worked in a century that, next to each of the following three, produced few philosophers of the first rank, an epoch, furthermore, when many thinkers were bullied, maimed, and murdered -- thinkers to whom the time had given birth and who strove to illuminate it through their varied accomplishments. The sixteenth was a century during which philosophers were so beleaguered that independent thinking belonged only to men of great personal heroism. Michael Servetus, Peter Ramus, Sir Thomas More, and Giordano Bruno were all put to death for their opinions, and Tommaso Campanella spent nearly three decades in prison for his. Vives himself was a little better treated, though his Spanish father was executed at the behest of the Inquisition; the son had already left his native Spain, remaining an exile for the rest of his forty-six years. Troubling portraits of life and death in a troubled time for the European nations. Spain, for one, was stage by stage passing from the zenith of her power and fame, partly because . . .

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