Renaissance philosophy

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-C035-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 22, 2021, from

3. Scholasticism and Aristotle

Scholastic philosophy was the philosophy of the schools, the philosophy which was taught in institutions of higher learning, whether the secular universities or the institutions of religious orders. The association of late scholastic philosophy with institutions of higher learning carried with it a certain method of presentation, one which is both highly organized and argumentative, with a clear account of views for and against a given thesis. It also carried with it a focus on Aristotle, for it was Aristotle who provided most of the basic textbooks in the sixteenth- and even the seventeenth-century university. Nor was the study of Aristotle necessarily carried on in a rigidly traditional manner, for many different Aristotelianisms were developed (see Aristotelianism, Renaissance). Moreover, particularly within the Jesuit order, there was a strong inclination to include new developments in mathematics and astronomy within the framework of Aristotelian natural philosophy (see Aristotelianism in the 17th century §1).

Aristotelians include Paul of Venice, George of Trebizond, Vernia, Nifo, Pomponazzi, Melanchthon, Zabarella and the Thomists (see below). Anti-Aristotelians include Petrarch (see Petrarca, F.), Blasius of Parma, Valla, Ramus, Sanches, Telesio, Patrizi da Cherso and Campanella. Some philosophers sought to reconcile Platonism and Aristotelianism (see Pico della Mirandola, G. §4; Platonism, Renaissance §§3, 6).

A very important characteristic of late scholastic philosophy is its use of medieval terminology, along with its continued, explicit, concern both with problems stemming from medieval philosophy and with medieval philosophers themselves. There are fashions here as elsewhere. Albertism (the philosophy of Albert the Great) was important in the fifteenth century (see Aristotelianism, medieval §5); nominalism more or less disappeared after a final flowering in the early sixteenth-century (see Biel, G.; Major, J.). Scotism declined significantly, but was still present in the seventeenth century (see Aristotelianism in the 17th century §§2–4; Latin America, colonial thought in §2). Thomism underwent a strong revival especially through the work of the Dominicans (Capreolus, Cajetan, Silvestri, Vitoria, Soto, Báñez and John of St Thomas) and the Jesuits (Fonseca, Toletus, Suárez and Rubio: see Latin America, colonial thought in §§2, 5; Spain, philosophy in §3; Thomism §2).

Citing this article:
Ashworth, E.J.. Scholasticism and Aristotle. Renaissance philosophy, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-C035-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2021 Routledge.

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