Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/7

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the philosophy of the renaissance

A. The Discovery of the Natural Man

Burckhardt, in his famous treatise, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, characterizes the Italian renaissance as the discovery of man. The historical conditions led to the emancipation of the individual. Man was no longer estimated from the mere viewpoint of his relationship to the Church or to his guild. He now became the subject of specialized interest and study. The discovery of ancient literature and art likewise contributed to this end. Man found a distinct form of culture outside the Church, with laws and ideals of its own. This expansion of the horizon furnished the opportunity for comparative study. In the north Protestantism, with its emphasis on personal experience and its insistence that civil life is independent of the Church, showed a similar tendency. In this way it became possible even here to develop both a theoretical and a practical interest in things which are purely human. Hence, both in the north and in the south, we find a number of interesting movements in the realm of the mental sciences during the period of the Renaissance.

1. Pietro Pomponazzi's little book, De immortalitate animæ (1515), may be regarded as an introduction to the philosophy of the Renaissance. Pomponazzi was born at Mantua in 1462, served with great distinction in the capacity of teacher of philosophy in Padua and Bologna, and died in the latter city in 1525. His friendship with