Renaissance Humanism

In This Chapter

  • Renaissance philosophy squares new thinking with old ideas
  • Neoplatonism inspires human creativity
  • Erasmus and peaceful skepticism
  • Machiavelli and the virtue of political power
  • Montaigne and personal skepticism

During the Middle Ages most Western philosophy was religious philosophy, which tended to emphasize how little people understand without the help of God, Holy Scripture, and the Church. During the Renaissance this attitude was gradually replaced by a general feeling that people weren’t so helpless after all.

The feeling is often referred to as humanism, the idea that all of the things people ...

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