Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/29
THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE RENAISSANCE
product of scientific thought, and there is no ground for attempting to deduce our knowledge from two different sources or faculties. The problem as to whether similarity is a sensory quality like color and tone remains unsolved, as even Patrizzi, a contemporary of Telesius, charged against him.
Telesius is inclined to ascribe sensitivity to all matter, just as, on the other hand, he regards the soul as material (with this exception, he postulated a supernatural part in the soul on theological grounds which he regarded as a forma superaddita). Every human soul, like everything else, possesses a native impulse towards self-preservation, which constitutes the foundation of ethics. Human virtues represent the various attributes which are favorable to the preservation of the individual. Wisdom is an indispensable condition which must therefore cooperate with all the other virtues (as virtus universalis). The social virtues, which are comprehended under the concept humanitas, are of great importance, because intimate association with others is a necessary condition of self-preservation. The climax of all virtue however is magnanimity (sublimitas), which finds its sufficient satisfaction in its own personal integrity and diligence. Telesius conceived his ethics in the spirit of the Renaissance, and it produced a lasting impression. His natural philosophy and his psychology were likewise very influential, especially over Bacon and Bruno.
3. Nicholas Copernicus (Coppernick), the founder of the modern theory of the universe, was born at Thorn (1473), studied at Cracow and at various Italian Universities and was prebendary at Frauenburg, partly as Administrator, devoting part of his time to his studies. He took no part in the great controversies agitating his