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Philosophy and Science in Sixteenth-Century Universities: Some Preliminary Comments

  • Charles B. Schmitt
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 26)

Abstract

In spite of the enormous amount of research which has been devoted to an understanding of the history of universities, much further work is required before we can begin to comprehend fully the place of these institutions in the Western cultural life of the past seven or eight centuries.1 Not only is much basic work left to be done in the documents themselves of even the most important and influential university centers, but we are sorely in need of synthetic and comparative studies relating several universities to one another. Nevertheless, even on the basis of the materials which have already been published, we are in a position to begin some sort of synthesis.2 Though we know a great number of individual facts from various universities concerning philosophy instruction in the sixteenth century, for example, no one has yet attempted an overall evaluation of these materials with an eye towards an eventual synthesis.3 This certainly is not the only question to be faced by historians of universities, but it is one to which little attention has previously been given, and, at the same time, one which is of potential interest to scholars in a variety of different fields.

Keywords

Seventeenth Century Moral Philosophy Sixteenth Century Fifteenth Century Fourteenth Century 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    The best general survey remains S. d’Irsay, Histoire des universités françaises et étrangères des origines à nos jours (Paris, 1933-35), 2 vols. For a review of literature on the history of universities from the time of d’lrsay’s book until about 1960 see S. Stelling- Michaud, L’histoire des universités au moyen âge et à la Renaissance au cours des vingt-cinq dernières années, Xle Congrès international des sciences historiques, Rapports I (1960), 97–143.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Much valuable material is collected, however, in studies such as P. Dibon, La philosophie néerlandaise au siècle d’or, I (Paris-Amsterdam, 1954 ) and B. Nardi, Saggi sull’- aristotelismo padovano dal secolo XIV al XVI (Firenze, 1958 ).Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    For Paris see C. Thurot, De l’organisation de l’enseignement dans l’université de Paris au moyen-âge (Paris, 1880; reprint Frankfurt, 1967) and for Oxford, J. A. Weisheipl, ‘Curriculum of the Faculty of Arts at Oxford in the Early Fourteenth Century’, Mediaeval Studies 26 (1964), 143-85. Much useful information is to be found in J. Koch (ed.), Ar tes liberales: Von der antiken Bilding zur Wissenschaft des Mittelalters (Köln-Leiden, 1959) and esp. Arts libéraux et philosophie au moyen âge [Actes du qua¬trième congrès international de philosophie médiévale] (Montréal-Paris, 1969 ).Google Scholar
  4. 21.
    See esp. P. O. Kristeller, ‘Humanism and Scholasticism in the Italian Renaissance’, Studies in Renaissance Thought and Letters (Roma, 1956), 553-83 and E. Garin, ‘Le traduzioni umanistiche di Aristotele nel secolo XV’, Atti e memorie dell’Accademia fiorentina di scienze morali “La Colombaria,” n. s. 2 (1947-50), 55–104.Google Scholar
  5. 22.
    See the Aristoteles latinus, ed. G. Lacombe et al (Roma etc., 1939 sqq.) for details.Google Scholar
  6. 23.
    See Cranz (note 14), 163-4. It should be noted, however, that the Secreta secretorum was never a university text and did not find its way into the university curriculum. Its widespread influence and diffusion is unquestionable, however. Of the extensive litera-ture on the subject see the general remarks in L. Thorndike, History of Magic and Ex-perimental Science (New York, 1923-58) II, 267-78 and passim. Of more recent books see the two recent German theses W. Hirth, Studien zu den Gesundheitslehren des soge-nannten Secreta secretorum (Heidelberg, 1969 ) and F. Wurms, Studien zu den deutschen und den lateinischen Prosafassung des pseudo-aristotelischen Secreta secretorum (Ham-burg, 1970 ).Google Scholar
  7. 25.
    See esp. E. N. Tigerstedt, ‘Observations on the Reception of the Aristotelian Poetics in the Latin West’, Studies in the Renaissance 15 (1968), 7-24 and B. Weinberg, A History of Literary Criticism in the Italian Renaissance (Chicago, 1961), 2 vols.Google Scholar
  8. 33.
    F. Nitzsch, Luther und Aristoteles (Kiel, 1883 ). Cf. d’Irsay (note 1), I, 308-9. For Luther’s anti-Aristotelian feelings see e.g. D. Martin Luthers Werke, Kritische Ausgabe (Weimar, 1883 sqq.) I, 221 sqq. (99 conclusiones contra scholasticam theologiam [1517]), 355 (Disputado Heidelbergae habita [1518], conclusio 36 ).Google Scholar
  9. 34.
    On the shift from Luther’s view to the more sympathetic attitude of Melanchthon see P. Petersen, Geschichte der Aristotelischen Philosophie im Protestantischen Deutsch-land (Leipzig, 1921), esp. 19-108 and E. Lewalter, Spanisch-Jesuitische und Deutsch- Lutherische Metaphysik des 17. Jahrhunderts (Hamburg, 1935; repr. Darmstadt, 1967 ).Google Scholar
  10. 40.
    F. Buonamici, ‘Sull’antico statuto della Università di Pisa: alcuni preliminari notizie storiche’, Annali delle Università toscane 30 (1911), 46 - 47.Google Scholar
  11. 41.
    S. Leite (ed.), Estatutos da universidade de Coimbra (1559) (Coimbra, 1963 ), 315 - 17.Google Scholar
  12. 42.
    J. Haller, Die Anfänge der Universität Tubingen, 1477-1537 (Stuttgart, 1927-29), II, 39 - 40.Google Scholar
  13. 46.
    C. Annerstedt, Upsala Universitets Historia (Upsala, 1877f.), Bihang I, 278.Google Scholar
  14. 47.
    See my ‘The Faculty of Arts at Pisa at the Time of Galileo’, Physis 14 (1972), 243-72, at 254.Google Scholar
  15. 53.
    P. O. Kristeller, ‘Francesco da Diacceto and Florentine Platonism in the Sixteenth Century’, in Studies (note 21 ), 287 - 336.Google Scholar
  16. 55.
    E. Massa, I fondamenti metafisici della “dignitas hominis” e testi inediti di Egidio da Viterbo (Torino, 1954) and J. W. O’Malley, Giles of Viterbo on Church and Reform (Leiden, 1968), 15-16 & passim.Google Scholar
  17. 56.
    S. Gibson, Statuta antiqua universitatis Oxoniensis (Oxford, 1931 ), 344, 390.Google Scholar
  18. 67.
    A. Poppi, La dottrina della scienza in Giacomo Zabarella (Padova, 1972 ), 16.Google Scholar
  19. 74.
    See esp. U. Viviani, Tre medici aretini (A. Cesalpino, F. Redi, e F. Folli) (Arezzo, 1936), 5-72; the introduction of M. Dorolle to Césalpino, Questions péripatéticiennes (Paris, 1929), 1-93; and W. Pagel, William Harvey’s Biological Ideas (Basel, 1967 ), 169-209. For his influence in Germany some information is to be found in P. Petersen, (note 34 ).Google Scholar
  20. 75.
    C. E. Mallett, A History of the University of Oxford (London, 1924-27), 3 vols, is of little use, though it does present to us a number of facts and anecdotes. More valuable are W. S. Howell, Logic and Rhetoric in England 1500-1700 (Princeton, 1956); M. H. Curtis, Oxford and Cambridge in Transition 1558-1642 (Oxford, 1959); Fletcher (note 10); J. K. McConica, English Humanists and Reformation Politics (Oxford, 1965 ); and H. Kearney, Scholars and Gentlemen: Universities and Society in Pre-Industrial Britain, 1500-1700 (London, 1970). Further bibliography is to be found in the excellent volume E. H. Cordeaux & D. H. Merry, A Bibliography of Printed Works Relating to the Uni-versity of Oxford (Oxford, 1968 ). A new general history of the university is now being prepared under the direction of T. H. Aston.Google Scholar
  21. 76.
    For some information on the changing situation see Curtis (note 75), 36ff. See also A. B. Emden, An Oxford Hall in Medieval Times, 2nd. ed. (Oxford, 1968), 228-9, which discusses the reduction of the number of halls in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.Google Scholar
  22. 77.
    Clark (note 57) is still the best source of information on this.Google Scholar
  23. 78.
    Clark (note 57), 170-9, 189-94 lists the questions disputed in philosophy and medi¬cine for the years 1576-1622.Google Scholar
  24. 93.
    See Clark (note 57), 21-3; Curtis (note 75), 89. For further information on the teach¬ing system at Oxford at the time see also the works of Weisheipl (note 6) and Fletcher (note 10).Google Scholar
  25. 94.
    For details of the visits see the reports printed in C. Plummer (ed.), Elizabethan Oxford. Reprints of Rare Tracts (Oxford, 1887 ).Google Scholar
  26. 95.
    Clark (note 57), 170-9, under the year 1581. Other related questions include: An natura intendat foeminam? (1585); “An foeminarum ingenia sint acutiora quam virorum?” (1590); “An foeminae jucundius vivant quam viri” (1495); “Foeminae esse debent literatae?” (1596); “An reprehendendus sit Aristoteles quia inter bona felicis bonam uxorem non commemoravit?” (1606).Google Scholar
  27. 96.
    In the section entitled “De utriusque professoris munere et officio,” we read “Genethliacorum vero doctrinae et totius in universum divinatricis astrologiae sibi penitus noverit [scil. professor astronomiae] interdictam professionem.” S. Gibson (ed.), Statuta antiqua Universitatis Oxoniensis (Oxford, 1931), 529.Google Scholar
  28. 127.
    see esp. R. G. Villoslada, La universidad de Paris durante los estudios de Francisco de Vitoria O.P. (1507-1522) (Romae, 1938 ).Google Scholar
  29. 128.
    On this see esp. M. Bataillon, Erasme et VEspagne (Paris, 1937 ).Google Scholar
  30. 140.
    See V. L. Saulnier, ‘Médicins de Montpellier au temps de Rabelais’, Bibliothèque d’humanisme et Renaissance 19 (1957), 425 - 79; Matricule de l’Université de Médecine de Montpellier (1503-1599) (Genève, 1957 ).Google Scholar
  31. 154.
    Of the large literature on this see R. Kelso, The Doctrine of the English Gentleman in the Sixteenth Century (Urbana, 1929); S. R. Jayne, John Colet and Marsilio Ficino (Oxford, 1963 ); McConica (note 75): and H. C. Porter, Erasmus and Cambridge (Toronto, 1970 ).Google Scholar
  32. 157.
    H. Hermelink, ‘Die Anfänge des Humanismus in Tübingen’, Württembergische Vierteljahrschrift für Landesgeschichte, new series, 15 (1906), 319 - 36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht-Holland 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles B. Schmitt
    • 1
  1. 1.The Warburg InstituteUniversity of LondonUK

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