Renaissance Philosophy

Renaissance Philosophy

Renaissance Philosophy

Renaissance Philosophy

Synopsis

The Renaissance has long been recognized as a brilliant moment in the development of Western civilization. Little attention has been devoted, however, to the distinct contribution of philosophy to Renaissance culture. This volume introduces the reader to the philosophy written, read, taught, and debated during the period traditionally credited with the "revival of learning." Beginning with original sources still largely inaccessible to most readers, and drawing on a wide range of secondary studies, the author examines the relation of Renaissance philosophy to humanism and the universities, the impact of rediscovered ancient sources, the recovery of Plato and the Neoplatonists, and the evolving ascendancy of Aristotle. Renaissance Philosophy also explores the original contributions of major figures including Bruni, Valla, Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Pomponazzi, Machiavelli, More, Vitoria, Montaigne, Bruno, and Camapanella.

Excerpt

The philosophy of the Renaissance -- that is, of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries -- unlike the political and religious developments, the literature, and the art of the same period, and unlike the philosophy of classical antiquity, of the modern period after Bacon and Descartes, and even of the Middle Ages, has been the subject of serious historical study only for the last hundred years or so, and most of the detailed monographs and text editions have been published only since the end of the First World War. Recent contributions have been so numerous and so widely scattered that bibliographical control of the relevant monographs and editions, and especially of the comprehensive or marginal studies pertinent to the subject, has become increasingly difficult. The recent publication of comprehensive handbooks in English is especially welcome, therefore, since they will serve as introductions and reference works for scholars and non-specialists, for teachers and students alike, keep the interest in the field alive, make the available information easily accessible, and also stimulate the further investigation of authors, problems, and their connections that have remained unexplored so far.

The books I have in mind are Arthur Rabil Renaissance Humanism, The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy, edited by the lateCharles B. Schmitt,Quentin Skinner, Eckhard Kessler, andJill Kraye (Cambridge University Press, 1988), and the present volume -- begun by Charles B. Schmitt and completed by Brian P. Copenhaver. These three works are all different in scope and content, and hence do not compete with but supplement each other. Rabil limits himself to Renaissance humanism, a movement which made important direct and indirect contributions to Renaissance thought, and especially to its moral philosophy, but which constitutes only one sector of Renaissance philosophy and which, on the other . . .

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