Mary Ann Sures writes that "The Renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was a conscious rebellion against the anti-human, otherworldly values of medieval Christendom. In its metaphysics and epistemology, the Renaissance was essentially Aristotelian. [...] A rebirth of reason and of concern with this earth, was the base of all the achievements of the Renaissance." ( “Metaphysics in Marble,” The Objectivist, March 1969, 11)
As fas as I understand the centers of Aristotelian learning prior to the Renaissance were Cologne and Padua (close to Venice). I am curious as to the explanation for Florence as the place the Renaissance took off given that Venice makes a lot more sense. Or do you disagree?
asked Mar 20 '12 at 14:46
Wikipedia contains articles on both the "Renaissance" that began more or less in Florence and spanned the 14th through 17th centuries, and on the "Renaissance of the 12th centry," describing the 12th century Renaissance. The most significant factor that Objectivism identifies in regard to the Renaissance is the following, from the 12th century Renaissance article (link):
Objectivist scholars and others probably would include both Renaissances as simply different phases of a single historical development in the transition from the Medieval-Christian era to the "Renaissance-Modern" era (including the Enlightenment), whose influence still persists today (culturally if not necessarily throughout academia).
Objectivism attirbutes the cause of this transition to (a) the rediscovery (in Constantinople) of numerous long lost works of Aristotle as a result of the Christian-inspired drive to explore other lands; and especially (b) the honesty and expert scholarship with which Aquinas brought Aristotle's ides to the attention of so many others, who further spread those ideas gradually throughout the whole Western culture. In fact, Leonard Peikoff once proposed Aquinas as the "Man of the Millennium" for his influence in bringing Aristotle's ideas back into the world (reserving Ayn Rand for the next millennium).
Regarding the role of Constantinople, the Wikipedia article on "Constantinople" observes:
It was especially important for preserving in its libraries manuscripts of Greek and Latin authors throughout a period when instability and disorder caused their mass-destruction in western Europe and north Africa: On the city's fall, thousands of these were brought by refugees to Italy, and played a key part in stimulating the Renaissance, and the transition to the modern world. The cumulative influence of the city on the west, over the many centuries of its existence, is incalculable. In terms of technology, art and culture, as well as sheer size, Constantinople was without parallel anywhere in Europe for a thousand years.
Regarding the article by Mary Ann Sures in The Objectivist, it must be remembered that Mrs. Sures is primarily an art historian, and her article was primarily concerned with the Renaissance in art. It takes time for new ideas in the more fundamental branches of philosophy to spread gradually as deeply into esthetics as they did during the Renaissance.
answered Mar 21 '12 at 01:26
Ideas for Life ♦