History of Modern Age (Renaissance) Philosophy

History of Modern Age (Renaissance) Philosophy

The Modern Age, which dates back to the Renaissance and extends to the present in terms of its problematic or conceptual influences, is perhaps the most vibrant and exciting period in history.

In this period, the Latin language, which is the common language of science and philosophy of the Middle Ages, began to be given works in national languages, and this development led to the emergence of different ways of thinking, philosophical attitudes and trends. While medieval thought was the stage of a philosophical activity under the influence of Christianity or Islam to a great extent, modern philosophy witnessed the development of an Anglo-Saxon philosophy, German philosophy, and French philosophy.

The European thinker introduced a new type of philosophical activity that emphasized the free mental activity of the thinking individual from the early modern era. Throughout the Middle Ages, the people of Europe, living as members of the great faith institutions of Christianity, have evolved from the Renaissance into a free-thinking individual; and re-interpret the world and society with their own mental activity. The thinking subject appeared on the Western stage of thought and soon all the important concepts of philosophy were reinterpreted around this subject. Developments in science and technique have given rise to a strong belief in Western man that mind and science will overcome all the problems that humanity faces, and this has led to the emergence of new philosophical tendencies and trends based on science and free thought in a short period of time.

The number and importance of thinkers who produced works during this long historical period is also truly dazzling.  Renaissance humanists such as Montaigne ,  Erasmus ,  Mirandola ,  Petrarca ; Continental rationalists such as Descartes ,  Spinoza ,  Leibniz ;  British empirists such as Locke ,  Hume ,  Berkeley ; Enlightenment thinkers such as Rousseau ,  Diderot ,  D’Alambert ; Machiavelli ,  Hobbes ,  Bodin ,  Grotius ,  Althusius political philosophy masters such as; Utopian thinkers such as More  and  Campanella ; German idealists such as Kant ,  Fichte ,  Schelling ,  Hegel , Marxist thinkers, original philosophers such as Schopenhauer  and  Nietzsche have always been educated in this period and gave many works which contributed to the formation of the current concepts and problems of philosophy.

Renaissance philosophy refers to the multifaceted philosophical developments that emerged from the late 14th century to the middle of the 16th century, particularly in the 15th century. Renaissance philosophy is generally regarded as a transitional philosophy in the history of philosophy. In this era, new developments in science and thought started to take place, and new perspectives and information emerged, leading the Renaissance philosophy to play the role of a bridge between medieval thought and new age thought.

An Overview of Renaissance Philosophy

Renaissance means rebirth. It is an event that took place in Europe, but it can be said that the Latin section, which is the main driver of Western Rome, provided these developments; Western culture and Western philosophy were reborn in a sense in this period.

It is not a re-examination or re-evaluation of ideas in the early and middle ages, but in a much more comprehensive sense, the issues that have been debated in a completely new way, the emergence of a very different type of human from the previous ages, and the development of ideas. Since Renaissance philosophy was also a transitional philosophy, it also served as a bridge between the earlier ages and the new age thought which would become more apparent later; thus, previous discussions were transferred to new developments with new forms and contents. The Renaissance is a period full of enthusiastic, fragmented and creative innovations.

Historically it is difficult to pinpoint the onset of the Renaissance; there are many determinations at this point. In general, this is indicated by the beginning of the reform in 1517. It is possible to see the developments affecting the Renaissance since the end of the 14th century. This is a period in which the church began to lose its power both economically and intellectually. Economic, social and cultural developments affected philosophical developments in a certain way and showed new leaps in this period.

In parallel with the weakening of religious authority, philosophy in Renaissance began to independent itself; he tried to do this by emphasizing the experiment and the mind. Thus, the closed thinking in the Middle Ages began to unfold and pluralize with a fragmented appearance. Philosophy has come out of the influence of clergy and has been in the interest of writers and thinkers with different positions. Established universities played an important role in this regard. Renaissance philosophy has led to the existence of different ideas and philosophy tendencies that evaluate the questions of philosophy in different ways. If there is a common denominator of these orientations, it can be stated as opposing scholastic philosophy.

Scholastic philosophy followed an unclear way of determining the relationship between faith and knowledge or religion and philosophy, and tended to reduce them to each other. Towards the end of the Middle Ages this approach began to dissolve thoroughly and the relationship between religion and philosophy tended to move away from each other. Philosophy will gradually become independent and gain power in the Renaissance on its own. In particular, the impact of nominalism on this rupture should be noted. The duality of truth and the belief that something that is not correct in terms of knowledge can be true in terms of belief was founded in this period. Thus, the boundaries of faith and knowledge are clearly separated from each other. The last periods of scholastics give clues about the formation of Renaissance philosophy in this sense.

As a part of these autonomization processes, the individual came to the forefront and philosophy was re-considered as a discipline in which everything that was a problem in human thought was examined. The fragmented, colorful, non-monolithic Renaissance thought thus emerged.

Main Topics in Modern Philosophy:

–  What do the terms modern and modern philosophy mean?
–  General characteristics of modern philosophy and Renaissance
–  What are the general characteristics of the Renaissance?
–  What is humanism?
–  What are the effects of translation activities on 15th and 17th century philosophy?
–  Social thought and social utopias in the Renaissance
–  Platonism in the Renaissance
–  Thought environment that prepared the Renaissance philosophy
–  Philosophical movements that direct Renaissance thought
– The  birth of rationalism
–  What are the main differences between modern thought and scholastic thought?
–  Issues and views emerging in the Modern Age
–  Who is Bernardinus Telesius?
–  Who is Nicolaus Copernicus?
–  Who is Galileo Galilei?
–  Who’s Rene Descartes?
–  Who is Nicolas Malebranche?
–  Who is Gottfrien Leibniz?
–  Who’s John Locke?
–  Who is David Hume?
–  Who is Niccolo Machiavelli?
–  Who’s Jean Bodin?
–  Who’s Hugo Grotius?
–  Who is Johannes Althusius?
–  Aristotelianism in the Renaissance
–  Neo-Platonism in the Renaissance
–  Who is Paracelsus?
–  Who is Giordano Bruno?
–  Who is Johannes Kepler?
–  Who’s Francis Bacon?
–  Who’s Arnold Geulincx?
–  Who is Baruch Spinoza?
–  Who’s Thomas Hobbes?
–  Who’s George Berkeley?

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