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Lodi Nauta | The Critique of Scholastic Language in Renaissance Humanism and Early-Modern Philosophy
15. 3. 2017 | 13:15 - 14:45
Renaissance humanists and early-modern philosophers shared a conviction that scholastic language, at least in its more baroque forms, was artificial, unnatural, uninformative, ungrammatical, and quasi-precise. The scholastics were accused of having introduced a terminology that was a far cry from the common language people spoke, wrote, and read. But what was meant by “common language”? That was not so easy to define. For the humanists, it meant the Latin of the great classical authors, but this position, as we will see, had its tensions. In the later period it became even more difficult to give positive substance to this notion as the world became, linguistically speaking, increasingly more pluralistic. Yet the attack on scholastic language continued to be conducted in these terms. I will suggest that the long road of what we may call the democratization of philosophical language, so dear to early-modern philosophers, had its roots – ironically perhaps – in the humanist return to classical Latin as the common language.