Volume 24, Issue 2, Spring 2020
Thora Ilin Bayer
The Two Views of Renaissance Philosophy
In the study of the history of philosophy, there is a long-standing question as to whether works produced between the mid-fourteenth century and the end of the sixteenth century, the Renaissance, can be rightly understood as philosophy or as primarily literary and rhetorical in character. The latter view is prominently held by Paul Oskar Kristeller but has precedent in Hegel’s treatment of this period in his History of Philosophy. That the works of major figures of this period are essentially philosophical is a view held, in quite different ways, by Ernst Cassirer and Ernesto Grassi. This essay examines the origin and nature of these views and advances a general perspective through which they may be brought together.