General Characteristics of Modern Philosophy and the RenaissanceJune 28, 2021
It’s time; New directions and styles began to appear in emotion, thought, view of people and society, art, philosophy and science, and the end of the Middle Ages was declared.
But how could all this happen? It could have been possible if man left the divine and religious concepts and notions that dominated thought throughout the Middle Ages and rediscovered the world under the guidance of his free mind, and established a brand new science, natural science, based on senses and reason instead of belief.
This new way of thinking, researching and acting became evident in the Renaissance. In the end, the divine subject was left aside and the individual man took his place on the stage of history as a thinking and acting subject. These are the qualities that distinguish the Modern Age and philosophy. This modernization breakthrough, which first manifested itself in the Renaissance period, matured well in the New Age and continued until the middle of the 20th century. From these introductory sentences, it can be understood why it is meaningful to start the Modern Age with the Renaissance.
Since it would be natural for all products that emerged in the Modern Age to be described as ‘modern’, the terms ‘modern philosophy’ and ‘modern science’ are terms that characterize the philosophy and science periods from the Renaissance to the present day. Since modern philosophy is philosophy made in a new way, it should be emphasized what this new style is. Here, those who master philosophy are not clergy speaking in the name of God, but individuals who think and act freely: The individual, relying on his own critical mind, has engaged in the act of establishing the world, society, and science; the thinking and acting subject is now himself; Not God or God’s representatives.
The human individual has now gained self-confidence. It does not need a transcendent being or source to think and act for itself. The intellectual and practical initiatives of the Renaissance period completely reflect this spirit. Especially when it comes to the 17th century, truly modern philosophy begins. Because works of philosophy have the feature of being works that contain the individual’s own private thoughts, beliefs and approaches and are even written in first person narration. In this context, the phrase ‘modern philosophy’ first of all describes a break from medieval philosophy. Because 14.-15. By the centuries, people’s dissatisfaction with the church had increased. The religious administration of the Middle Ages exerted intense pressure on people in order not to go beyond the religious lifestyle, and tried to inhibit people’s free search for innovation in every field and their will to create. However, the contradictions in the internal structure of Christianity and the illogical and meaningless practices of the church administration in the name of religion brought people to the point of breaking away from religion gradually. Man discovered that he did not have to submit to authority absolutely.
The human individual is now on the path of seeking the truth himself, relying on his own mind and emotions. Henceforth, the being that can think and act, that is, the subject, was none other than the human individual himself. This self-confidence in every subject could be developed and reinforced with a genuine ‘humanism’ idea. The medieval-scholastic period came to an end with a humanitarian movement that started in the field of literature, art and philosophy, and a brand new era was started. This new era is called the Renaissance and is generally thought of as a period covering the 15th and 16th centuries.
During the Renaissance, the intellectual authority established by Christianity weakened and man emerged as a thinking and acting subject. This situation led to the emergence of a humanism movement in art and philosophy.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook