General Characteristics of Modern Philosophy and Renaissance

It’s time; new orientations and styles in emotions, thoughts, people and society, art, philosophy and science began to manifest themselves and the end of the Middle Ages was declared.

But how could all this happen? It could have been possible for man to leave aside the divine and religious concepts and notions that dominated the thought throughout the Middle Ages and to rediscover the world in the guidance of his free mind, and to establish a new science and natural science based on senses and reason instead of faith.

This new way of thinking, research and action became evident in the Renaissance. Eventually, the divine subject was left aside and the individual human appeared on the stage of history as the thinking and acting subject. These are the characteristics that distinguish the Modern Age and philosophy. This modernization breakthrough, which first appeared in the Renaissance, matured well in the New Age and continued until the mid-20th century. One can understand why it is meaningful to start the Modern Age with Renaissance.

Since all the products that emerged in the Modern Age will be natural as  ‘modern’, the  terms ‘modern philosophy’  and  ‘modern science’ are the terms that characterize the periods of philosophy and science from the Renaissance to the present day. Since modern philosophy is a philosophy made in a new style, it should be emphasized what this new style is. Here, it is not the clergy who speak in the name of God, but the individuals who think and act freely: the subject who thinks and acts is now himself; Not God or his representatives.

The human individual is now self-confident. He does not need a transcendental being or resource to think and act on his behalf. The intellectual and operational attempts of the Renaissance period reflect this spirit entirely. Especially in the 17th century, modern philosophy really started. Because, the works of philosophy contain the individual’s own private thoughts, beliefs and approaches, and are even the works written by first person narration. In this context, the term ‘modern philosophy’ first of all refers to a break with medieval philosophy. Because 14th-15th. By the 19th century, people’s discontent with the church had increased. Religious administration of the Middle Ages exerted intense pressure on people not to go outside of the religious life style. He went to the way to hinder the creation request. However, the contradictions in the internal structure of Christianity and the irrational and meaningless practices applied by the church administration in the name of religion gradually brought people to the point of breaking away from religion. Man discovered that he did not necessarily have to submit to authority.

The human individual has now embraced his own mind and emotions and began to seek the righteousness himself. From now on, the thinking and acting entity, that is, the subject, was none other than the human individual itself. This self-confidence in every subject could be developed and reinforced with a real thought of ‘ humanism ‘. With this kind of humanity movement that started in literature, art and philosophy, the medieval-scholastic period came to an end and a new era was started. The name of this new era is the Renaissance and is generally considered a period covering the 15th and 16th centuries.

During the Renaissance, the intellectual authority established by Christianity weakened and human beings emerged as a thinking and acting subject. This led to the emergence of a movement of humanism in art and philosophy.

Prepared by:  Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source:  Ömer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Department of Sociology 1st Grade Giriş Introduction to Philosophy ”and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade Tarihi History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook

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