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Vives, Juan Luis (1493–1540)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-C045-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

Vives, Spanish humanist and educational reformer, was an eclectic but independent thinker, blending Aristotelianism and Stoicism with Christianity. He wrote on philosophy and psychology, religion and social concerns, and a wide range of subjects related to education. He was known by his contemporaries both for his lively attack on scholastic logic and for his practical judgment, or common sense. Familiar with classical, Christian and contemporary literature, he believed, with the Stoics, that learning should be applied for the common good. His original contributions are associated with an empirical approach to the sciences and the observation of nature, and his interest in the practical arts and inventions.

His social concerns included international politics (in which he is always a pacifist), and the relief of the poor in cities. His most scholarly work was an edition, with commentaries, of Augustine’s De civitate Dei (The City of God) (1522), but he is best known for his pioneer work on psychology and educational reform. De anima et vita (On the Soul and Life) (1538) offers the first empirical study of the emotions and their relations with the body, based on Galen’s theory of humours, and enriched with insights from Vives’ lifelong observation of human nature and conduct. De disciplinis (On Instruction) (1531), the outstanding work on education in the sixteenth century, is nothing less than a programme for education from infancy to old age, with due emphasis on moral training and, in the case of the study of nature, reverence for its creator.

Citing this article:
Guerlac, Rita. Vives, Juan Luis (1493–1540), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-C045-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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