The Strengths and Weaknesses of Ramism
Peter Ramus used diagrams to clarify the application and teaching of dialectic. Both Edward de Vere and William Shakspere would have encountered such schemas in legal documents, but the deep roots of Oxford’s education suggest that he, unlike Stratford, had already met Ramus’s diagrams in primary form. Ramus’s reliance on decisions trees made them a noted part of his intellectual legacy. The weakest aspect of Ramism was its reductive withdrawal from the dialogic. Nonetheless, Ramus laid the way for John von Neumann’s twentieth-century game-theoretic analysis of coordinative logic. Ramus approached, but ultimately retreated from, this analytical method. Shakespeare’s implicit recognition of this feint, which concerns Ramus’s approach to coordination problems, required a profound understanding of Ramism. That requirement favors the Oxfordian case.