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Agricola, Rudolph (1444–85)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-C001-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

Rudolph Agricola was one of the leading humanists of northern Europe in the late fifteenth century. His polished Latin style, his Greek learning and his knowledge of classical literature made him a hero to Erasmus, More, Vives, Melanchthon and Ramus. His major work, De inventione dialectica (On Dialectical Invention) (1479), provides an original account of practical argumentation by combining elements from the established teachings of rhetoric and dialectic with analysis of passages from classical literature. It includes a new version of the topics of invention, based on Cicero’s method of devising arguments, outlined in his Topics. Agricola’s letter De formando studio (On Shaping Studies) (1484), which circulated widely in the sixteenth century, outlines a plan of knowledge and discusses methods of study. Although his approach was strongly humanist and the Roman rhetorician Quintilian was his favourite author, his logic remained firmly Aristotelian, unlike that of his predecessor Lorenzo Valla. He remained aware of the achievements of scholasticism, expressing admiration for Duns Scotus and adopting an extreme realist position in metaphysics.

Citing this article:
Mack, Peter. Agricola, Rudolph (1444–85), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-C001-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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