Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/39

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36
THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE RENAISSANCE

problems in the philosophy of knowledge. Owing to the fact that the new method was applied almost exclusively to the realm of matter, the concept of matter naturally came to the foreground. And as a matter of fact it was not until then that the problem of the relation of mind and matter could be sharply and definitely stated. Ethics and the philosophy of religion likewise received their complement of new data. The self-sufficiency of man was magnified. New forms of social life were evolved, especially through the progressive division of labor made possible and necessary through the mechanical inventions. The growing conviction of the prevalence of fixed natural laws required a restatement and a more precise definition of the problem of religion. Man’s general attitude to the universe, both in its theoretical and its practical aspects, underwent a most remarkable change.

We shall mention three men as the real founders of modern science.

1. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), the famous artist, whose varied talents made him one of the most remarkable characters of the Renaissance period, is known to us through several fragments in natural science and philosophy which are of great importance. His manuscripts became scattered and none were published until late in the nineteenth century. (H. P. Richter has published a good collection. London, 1883. A German translation of the most important fragments was published by M. Herzfeld, Leipzig, 1904.)

Experience is the common mother of all knowledge. But we cannot stop on the plane of mere observation. We must find the internal bond of nature (freno e regula interna) which explains the vital relation of things and events. And the only possible method of doing this is