Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/11

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8
THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE RENAISSANCE

animal form, and we presume that this whole universe was created and is preserved for the welfare of man alone.—But Montaigne is not a sceptic. There are two fundamental ideas, vitally related to each other, to which he firmly holds, viz. the idea of the variety of individual peculiarities, and the idea of the eternity of nature revealing itself in every natural event.

Luis Vives (born in Valencia 1492, died in Brügge 1542), a Spanish scholar, whose contributions to philology and pedagogy have likewise been of great importance, became the forerunner of modem empirical psychology through his book De anima vita (1538). He insists that experience must be the foundation of all knowledge and, true to this principle, he holds that our chief concern is not to know what the soul is, but to know how it acts. He therefore undertakes to emancipate psychology from metaphysics and theology. He follows the descriptive rather than the analytic and explanatory method. His description of the various psychical phenomena, especially of the emotions, still retains its interest. He regards the soul and the vital principle as identical, and he constantly seeks to combine physiology, as he understands it from the works of Galen, with his psychology. He holds however that, whilst the souls of plants and of animals (the principle of organic life and of sensory experience) evolve from matter, God creates the human soul. The proof of the divine origin of the soul consists of the fact that man is never satisfied with the sensible and finite, but is forever striving to realize the infinite.

Two years after the appearance of Vives' work, Philip Melanchthon (1495-1560), the reformer and "Preceptor of Gemany," published his Liber de anima, a book which made a profound impression upon Protestantism. He