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Ramus, Petrus (1515–72)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-C036-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Petrus Ramus, for many years a professor of philosophy and eloquence at the University of Paris, wrote textbooks and controversial works in grammar, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, physics and philosophy. He was also a university reformer. His followers were prolific with commentaries, Ramist analyses of classical texts and handbooks of their own. His logical works and those of his school exercised a large influence between 1550 and 1650.

His formation was humanist, in that he attacked scholasticism and encouraged the study (and logical analysis) of classical texts, as Agricola, Sturm and Melanchthon had done. But he was far more independent-minded than them, a stern critic of the textbooks of Aristotle and Cicero, as well as an admirer of their style and intellect. His most important innovation was the method, a theory of organization which he used to simplify his textbooks. He emphasized the need for learning to be comprehensible and useful, with a particular stress on the practical aspect of mathematics. His critics would say he oversimplified. He was also a student of Gaulish pseudo-antiquities and an important proponent of the French language. His Dialectique (1555) was the first book on dialectic in French.

Citing this article:
Mack, Peter. Ramus, Petrus (1515–72), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-C036-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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