Although Ramus flayed the "Aristotelians" of his day, he was the first to acknowledge his own great indebtedness to Aristotle himself, and most eager to assert that he alone had read the Organon aright. Yet it seems probable to the modern scholar that Ramus never understood Aristotle, and while sixteenth-century Peripatetics may not have understood much more, they at least grasped enough to object to Ramus' epistemology. These Peripatetics were also entangled in the problems of cognition, of the relation of knowledge to its objects, of the guarantees for the validity of ideas, but they could not content themselves with the easy escape offered by the Dialecticae. They too were dogmatists, but they could never assert flatly that an argument was so precise a reflection of a thing as to be in effect the thing itself, and so feel that they had unriddled the universe.
Ramus himself does not seem to have foreseen the epistemological difficulties which he was creating for his students. He wrote "scholia" in metaphysics and physics in which he never challenged traditional theories of cognition, still assuming that from things arise intelligible forms, which the soul abstracts by its active intellect and knows by its possible intellect, and that therefore knowledge originates in the senses. Yet his contentions that words are things, that reason gives a name to objects promptly and immediately, that it is competent to deal truthfully with everything that comes within its range of vision, contradict this theory, and sooner or later his followers could not help facing that fact. His defenders were compelled to meet it, to supply more extensive metaphysical foundations; they could not indefinitely proclaim that the thing in nature becomes an argument in logic without offering some explanation of how they had eliminated the possibility of variance. How could they declare that reason contemplates an eternal and immutable "veritas" through the instrumentality of logic, when