Philosophical Movements Directing Renaissance Thought

Philosophical Movements Directing Renaissance Thought

One of the prominent philosophical movements in the Renaissance is Stoicism. Petrarca, for example, was influenced by the Stoics and expressed the views of this movement in their discourses. This trend, which is generally an ethical world view, has influenced the senior families and educated classes of the period with the suggestion of a way of living. Seneca adopted the classic Stoic principle.

According to him, living in accordance with nature was the foundation of morality, and Nature and reason were identical. Compliance with nature meant reason. To live away from emotions and passions was to live wisely. So the purpose of moral life was to lead a wise life. Seneca defined the wise person as being insensitive to pleasure and pain, self-sufficient in all matters, choosing virtue with free will, and seeing himself as the master of the universe. Epicurosism, which is also an ethical doctrine, found itself quite a supporter in the Renaissance with its advice such as capturing the pleasures of life and leading a happy life.

Epicureanism, which saw pleasure as the sole source of happiness, was a very misinterpreted trend in the Middle Ages. At that time, Epicurus meant pagan, pagan, deviated from the right path, and was also an adjective characterizing those who turned their back on higher spiritual values ​​and pursued only simple earthly pleasures. However, in true Epicureanism, spiritual pleasures come to the forefront, not physical pleasures. The body is in painlessness is sufficient as physical pleasure. Spiritual pleasures are more satisfying and continuous. It is spiritual pleasures that lead man to true happiness, which in a way again points to wise life. Within this emphasis, the true value and meaning of Epicurosism began to be understood again during the Renaissance.

Skepticism also had some effect in this period. The discovery of the skeptics of the Antiquity during the Renaissance and the influence of their philosophies to create a certain worldview is also seen. Montaigne is an example of this. Finally, Atomic views can be mentioned. In Renaissance, atomism was handled over Epicurus rather than Democritus. We have dealt with epicuriosity as an ethical doctrine above. Because the philosophy of Epicurus, just like the philosophy of Stoa, includes a certain approach to the nature of nature, as well as influences on spirituality and morality was particularly effective. However, Democritus’s views about humanity were not yet mature enough to attract attention. For this reason, during the Renaissance period, Epicuriosity showed its effect on a certain number of people, especially in terms of causing a lifestyle. In this period, Epicuros’ moral views are discussed under the name of ik Epicurosism uluk and metaphysical views are called “atomism”. Epicurus follows the path of Democritus and sees the building blocks of the universe as atoms; everything occurs as a result of atoms colliding with each other while in motion in space. Atoms are only entities of quantitative structure, ie they have properties such as size, weight, volume motion velocity, but they do not have the characteristics of color, sound, taste or odor. As we have seen, this kind of approach seems to open the way to the mathematical explanation of nature. At the same time, he was the pioneer of the understanding of mechanical nature.

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