philosophy

Nikolaus of Cusa and the Learned Ignorance

Nikolaus of Cusa and the Learned Ignorance

On August 11, 1464, German philosopher, theologian, jurist, and astronomer Nikolaus of Cusa (in latin: Nicolaus Cusanus) passed away. He is considered as one of the first German proponents of Renaissance humanism. His best known work is entiteled ‘De Docta Ignorantia‘ (Of the Learned Ignorance), where also most of his mathematical ideas were developed, as e.g. the trial of squaring the circle or calculating the circumference of a circle from its radius. “In…
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Alexis de Tocqueville and the Democracy in America

Alexis de Tocqueville and the Democracy in America

On July 29, 1805, French political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville was born. He is best known for his Democracy in America, where he analyzed the rising living standards and social conditions of individuals and their relationship to the market and state in Western societies. Today, it is considered an early work of sociology and political science. “The best laws cannot make a constitution work in spite of morals; morals can…
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The Medium is the Message – Marshall McLuhan

The Medium is the Message – Marshall McLuhan

On July 21, 1911, Canadian philosopher of communication theory Herbert Marshall McLuhan was born. His groundbreaking work is considered to be the cornerstone of media and communication theory. McLuhan is known for coining the expressions the medium is the message and the global village, and for predicting the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented. “In television, images are projected at you. You are the screen. The images wrap…
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Robert Hooke and his Famous Observations of the Micrographia

Robert Hooke and his Famous Observations of the Micrographia

On July 18, 1635 (according to the old Julian calendar), English natural philosopher, architect and polymath Robert Hooke was born. He is known for his discovery of the laws of elasticity, now known as Hooke’s law. Hooke did research in a remarkable variety of fields. He was one of the first men to build a Gregorian reflecting telescope and to suggest that Jupiter rotates. His studies of microscopic fossils are what led…
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John Dee and his World of Science and Magic

John Dee and his World of Science and Magic

On July 13, 1527, Welsh mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I, John Dee was born. He is considered one of the most learned men of his age. Besides being an ardent promoter of mathematics and a respected astronomer, in his later years he immersed himself in the worlds of magic, astrology and Hermetic philosophy. One of his aims was attempting to commune with angels in order to…
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Nicole Oresme – Polymath of the Late Middle Ages

Nicole Oresme – Polymath of the Late Middle Ages

On July 11, 1382, significant philosopher of the later Middle Ages Nicole Oresme passed away. As for many historic people of the middle ages, his actual birthdate is unknown and can only be fixed to a period between 1325 and 1330. Nicole Oresme besides William of Ockham [7] or Jean Buridan — a French priest who sowed the seeds of the Copernican revolution in Europe [6] — is considered as one of the most…
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Georg Christoph Lichtenberg – Master of Aphorism

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg – Master of Aphorism

On July 1, 1742, German scientist, satirist and Anglophile Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was born. He is remembered best for his posthumously published notebooks, which he himself called Sudelbücher, a description modeled on the English bookkeeping term “scrapbooks”, and his aphorisms. A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it an apostle is hardly likely to look out. We have no words for speaking of wisdom to the stupid. He who understands…
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Elena Cornaro Piscopia – About the Difficulties to Receive a PhD in a Male Dominated Academia

Elena Cornaro Piscopia – About the Difficulties to Receive a PhD in a Male Dominated Academia

On June 25, 1678, Venetian philosopher of noble descent Elena Cornaro Piscopia, was the first woman to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree. An extraordinary Child Elena Cornaro Piscopia was the fifth of seven children of the procurator of San Marco (Sestiere di Venezia), Gianbattista Corner, and his later wife Zanetta Boni. Her intellectual ability was noticed early, wherefore the local priest encouraged her family to enable Piscopia a formal education. She was then…
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Pierre de Coubertin and the Idea of the Olympic Games

Pierre de Coubertin and the Idea of the Olympic Games

On June 23, 1894, French educator and historian Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Because of his initiative he is considered the father of the modern Olympic Games, the first one organized in Greece only two years later in 1896. Olympic Games in History The Olympic Games have a long tradition dating back to ancient Greece, where the games were both, a religious and an athletic festival held every four years…
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Wilhelm von Humboldt and the Reform of Prussia’s Education System

Wilhelm von Humboldt and the Reform of Prussia’s Education System

On June 22, 1767, Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt was born. He was a Prussian philosopher, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of the University of Berlin. He is especially remembered as a linguist who made important contributions to the philosophy of language and to the theory and practice of education. In particular, he is widely recognized as having been the architect of the Prussian education system which was used as a…
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