Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Renaissance and Reformation

Osborne: 57-68
Kenny: 182-205
Penguin: as appropriate
Robinson: 48-53
Oxford: 306-313
Machiavelli (1469-1527)
Erasmus (1466-1536)
More (1478-1535)
Luther (1483-1546)
Calvin (1509-1564)
Rabelais (1483?-1559?)
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Francis Bacon (1561-1616)
1) Rich princes, new buildings and palaces
2) New realism in art (perspective, form)
3) Original Greek manuscripts rediscovered
4) Interest in antiquities
5) New inventions and technology
a) Mining
b) Plumbing
c) Metallurgy
d) Printing press
6) A new culture
a) Capitalist in economy
b) Classical in art and literature
c) Scientific in approach to nature 
The Renaissance, Continued….
1) Political Philosophy
a) Machiavelli
2) Technological advances
3) Printing
4) Revival of classical studies
a) Literature
b) Philosophy
c) Architecture
5) Advances in the sciences of painting
6) "The Renaissance Man"
a) Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
7) Formation of the sciences
a) Alchemy becomes chemistry
b) Astrology becomes astronomy
c) Systematic study of anatomy
d) In science, direct experience more important than authority
8) Exploration
a) Diaz DaGama
b) Columbus
c) Magellan
9) Humanistic critiques of Medievalism
a) Erasmus (1466-1536) Praise of Folly
b) Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) Utopia
c) Francois Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel
1. Critique of law, medicine, and the church. 
a) Rooted in the writings of Augustine (he was an Augustinian monk) and William of Ockham.
b) Backward looking, but nonetheless revolutionary.
c) Luther publishes 95 Theses (1517) attack church corruption
d) Central doctrine was justification through faith and not through works.
e) Held the authority of the Bible to be supreme over church tradition.
f) Priests were reviled: celibacy, the paraphernalia of Purgatory, masses, robes, graven images, and Papal indulgences.
g) Predestination, St. Paul's notion of sin.
h) Man's terrible predicament could only be solved by faith, not reason.
1) Insisted men must obey their rulers.
a) Geneva--created a theocratic city-state based on his Institutions of the Christian Religion.
b) Predestination was a central doctrine.
c) Civil life was organized in an egalitarian way.
d) Influenced Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and the "Pilgrim Fathers" in America.
Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement)
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)
5) Zwingli (1484-1531) Establishes theocratic city-state in Zurich.
6) John Knox (1505-1572)
a) First Trumpet Blast Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women (1558) 
The Counter-Reformation
1) St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556).
a) Spanish, ex-soldier, formed the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) along military lines. The Jesuits possessed remarkable discipline, and produced strenuous fighters of heresy (the inquisition), vigorous missionaries, and created the best schools in Christendom. 
MACHIAVELLI (1469-1527)
1) Interested in political power: how to get it, keep it, and use it.
b) Unlike Medieval Philosophers, made no attempt to bring God into his thinking.
2) He pointed out that pretending to be pious was a good thing to keep the masses happy.
3) Secular, scientific basis of modern political philosophy.
4) The Prince: In a corrupt world a strong leader (a dictator) was necessary:
a) Viewing the corruption around him, Machiavelli came to the conclusion that in politics the means of achieving things had to be corrupt also: Any means is acceptable so long as it is effective.
b) A strong ruler must:
i. Possess a double-standard of behavior.
ii. Be a fox and a lion.
iii. Be a great feigner and dissembler.
5) The Discourses: Machiavelli argues that a republic with a democratic constitution would be the best form of government.
a) Important goals for a nation include:
i. Independence
ii. Security
iii. Well-ordered constitution

Francis Bacon: Abstract Necessities and Four Idols

Francis Bacon observed that human beings have a tendency to draw the separate facts, particulars, and events of experience into abstract necessities, general laws, and "natural" mechanisms. According to Bacon in Aphorism 45 from Book I of the New Organum:

The human understanding is of its own nature prone to suppose the existence of more order and regularity in the world than it finds. And though there be many things in nature which are singular and unmatched, yet it devises for them parallels and conjugates and relatives which do not exist. Hence the fiction that all celestial bodies move in perfect circles, spirals and dragons being (except in name) utterly rejected.Hence too the element of fire with its orb is brought in, to make up the square with the other three which the sense perceives.Hence also the ratio of density of the so-called elements is arbitrarily fixed at ten to one.And so on of other dreams.And these fancies affect not dogmas only, but simple notions also. (50)

In Aphorisms 39 through 44 of The New Organon, Bacon defines four classes of "idols" which he says "beset men's minds."These four distinctions Bacon calls, first, Idols of the Tribe; second, Idols of the Cave; third, Idols of the Marketplace; fourth, Idols of the Theater.

The Idols of the Tribe, says Bacon, "have their foundation in human nature itself . . . [H]uman understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it." Our understanding is distorted by our own animal nature.

The Idols of the Cave "are the idols of the individual man . . . [M]en look for sciences in their own lesser worlds [--according to their personal nature, the books they read, their education, the friendship and authority of those whom they esteem and admire--] and not in the greater or common world." Our understanding is distorted by our upbringing, through the association of our families and close friends.

The Idols of the Market are "formed by the intercourse and association of men with each other."Because of this association, language is often distorted "according to the apprehension of the vulgar.And therefore the ill and unfit choice of words wonderfully obstructs the understanding."Learned men are often in error in their definitions and explanations because "words plainly force and overrule the understanding, and throw all into confusion, and lead men away into numberless empty controversies and idle fancies." Our understanding is distorted by where we work and who we work with.

The Idols of the Theatre are "various dogmas of philosophies, and also the wrong laws of demonstration."These various dogmas are "entire systems . . . principles and axioms in science, which by tradition, credulity, and negligence have come to be received."The demonstrations and proofs for these systems are like "so many stage plays, representing worlds of their own creation after an unreal and scenic fashion." 
Our understanding is distorted by the language and orientations of various schools, academies, the sciences and the professions.

Bacon, Francis. Novum Organum. New York: Liberal Arts Press. 1960. (47-50).

Additional Sources:
Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy
Richard Osborne. Philosophy for Beginners
Calvinist Corner

Study Guide for the Midterm.


Political Philosophy
Pre-Socratic Philosophy
Thales (625-547?)
Anaximander (610-545) 
Pythagoras (581-507)
Heraclitus (540-480)
Parmenides (515- 445)
Democritus (460-370)
Protagoras (490-420)
Gorgias (483-376)
Hippocrates (460-377)
Pericles (490-429)
Socrates (470-399)
Plato (428-348)
Aristotle (384-322)
Xenophon (c.430-354)
St. Augustine (354-430)
Muhammad (570-632)
Abelard (1079-1144)
Maimonides (1135-1204)
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Roger Bacon (1215-1292)
William of Ockham (1285-1349)
The Name of the Rose
Machiavelli (1469-1527)
Erasmus (1466-1536)
Sir Thomas More (1478-1535)
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
John Calvin (1509-1564)
François Rabelais (1494?-1553)
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Francis Bacon (1561-1616)

Sample Essay Questions:

1. Consider the philosophers we have read about and discussed so far, and choose a philosopher you find interesting. After presenting a short biography, describe and comment upon the full range of your philosopher's ideas. Which of these ideas do you agree with, and why? Which do you disagree with, and why? Consider the origins of your philosopher's views, and consider how your philosopher came to hold these views. To do this, you might consider other philosophers your philosopher was responding to. Throughout your essay, discuss your criticisms and reservations.

2. Consider how philosophy influences theology and religion, and consider how theology and religion influence philosophy.  Be sure to comment on the political and  historical contexts that influence such  influences. Be sure to use The Name of The Rose to illustrate your discussion.

3. Compare and contrast Plato and Aristotle.

4. How does philosophy "return" during the Middle Ages?  

5. Describe and criticize the four main philosophical schools of the Hellenistic and Roman world.  How were they influenced, and how did they continue to influence philosophy and theology through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Reformation?

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