Preliminaries If ethics is widely regarded as the most accessible branch of philosophy, it is so because many of its presuppositions are self-evident or trivial truths: At least for secularists, the attainment of these overall aims is thought to be a condition or prerequisite for a good life. What we regard as a life worth living depends on the notion we have of our own nature and of the conditions of its fulfillment.
Origin and meaning of the term humanism The ideal of humanitas The history of the term humanism is complex but enlightening.
It was first employed as humanismus by 19th-century German scholars to designate the Renaissance emphasis on Classical studies in education. These studies were pursued and endorsed by educators known, as early as the late 15th century, as umanisti—that is, professors or students of Classical literature.
The word umanisti derives from the studia humanitatisa course of Classical studies that, in the early 15th century, consisted of grammarpoetryrhetorichistoryand moral philosophy.
The studia humanitatis were held to be the equivalent of the Greek paideia. Renaissance humanism in all its forms defined itself in its straining toward this ideal.
No discussion of humanism, therefore, can have validity without an understanding of humanitas. Humanitas meant the development of human virtue, in all its forms, to its fullest extent. The term thus implied not only such qualities as are associated with the modern word humanity—understanding, benevolencecompassion, mercy—but also such more assertive characteristics as fortitudejudgment, prudenceeloquence, and even love of honour.
Consequently, the possessor of humanitas could not be merely a sedentary and isolated philosopher or man of letters but was of necessity a participant in active life. Just as action without insight was held to be aimless and barbaric, insight without action was rejected as barren and imperfect.
Humanitas called for a fine balance of action and contemplation, a balance born not of compromise but of complementarity. The goal of such fulfilled and balanced virtue was political, in the broadest sense of the word.
The purview of Renaissance humanism included not only the education of the young but also the guidance of adults including rulers via philosophical poetry and strategic rhetoric.
It included not only realistic social criticism but also utopian hypothesesnot only painstaking reassessments of history but also bold reshapings of the future. Humanism had an evangelical dimension: The wellspring of humanitas was Classical literature.
Greek and Roman thought, available in a flood of rediscovered or newly translated manuscripts, provided humanism with much of its basic structure and method. For Renaissance humanists, there was nothing dated or outworn about the writings of AristotleCiceroor Livy.
Compared with the typical productions of medieval Christianitythese pagan works had a fresh, radical, almost avant-garde tonality. Indeed, recovering the classics was to humanism tantamount to recovering reality. Classical philosophyrhetoric, and history were seen as models of proper method—efforts to come to terms, systematically and without preconceptions of any kind, with perceived experience.1.
Socrates’s strangeness. Standards of beauty are different in different eras, and in Socrates’s time beauty could easily be measured by the standard of the gods, stately, proportionate sculptures of whom had been adorning the Athenian acropolis since about the time Socrates reached the age of thirty.
History of Greece: Periods Overview. Greek history is generally divided into the following eras: Paleolithic (circa , – 13, BP) Mesolithic (circa 10, – BCE.
An Overview of Western Civilization The Six Major Periods of Western Civilization (BCE = BC; CE = AD) 1. Mesopotamia, Egypt, & Hebrews ( BCE) 2. Ancient Greece ( BCE). Philosophy (from Greek φιλοσοφία, philosophia, literally "love of wisdom") is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.
The term was probably coined by Pythagoras (c. – BCE). Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation.
Humanism, system of education and mode of inquiry that originated in northern Italy during the 13th and 14th centuries and later spread through continental Europe and regardbouddhiste.com term is alternatively applied to a variety of Western beliefs, methods, and philosophies that place central emphasis on .
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