Jean Jacques Rousseau

Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

On July 20, 1304, Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) was born. He is considered to be one of the earliest humanists and also the “father of the Renaissance.” Petrarch’s sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the “Dark Ages”. “I rejoiced in my progress, mourned my weaknesses, and…
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“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born on June 28, 1712. The writer, philosopher, composer, and pioneer of the Age of Enlightenment had a great influence in educational and political matters throughout the French Revolution and beyond. “It is ordinary people who have to be educated, and their education alone can serve as a pattern for the education of their fellows. The others find their way alone.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or On Education, 1762 Rousseau was born in…
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You Don’t Exist. – says David Hume

You Don’t Exist. – says David Hume

On May 7, 1711, the great Philosopher David Hume was born. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy as well as the Scottish Enlightenment. In his ‘Treatise of Human Nature‘ (1739), he was about to create a total naturalistic “science of man” examining the psychological basis of human nature. In stark to Descartes, he concluded that desire rather than reason governed human behavior: “Reason is,…
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Baltasar Gracian and the Art of Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian and the Art of Wisdom

On January 8, 1601, Spanish Jesuit and baroque prose writer and philosopher Baltasar Gracián y Morales was born. He is best known as the leading Spanish exponent of conceptism (conceptismo), a style of dealing with ideas that involves the use of terse and subtle displays of exaggerated wit. His writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.[7] “If you cannot make knowledge your servant, make it your friend.” — Baltasar Gracian, The Art of…
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Étienne de Condillac and the Importance of Language in Logical Reasoning

Étienne de Condillac and the Importance of Language in Logical Reasoning

Étienne Bonnot de Condillac (1714-1780) On September 30, 1714, French philosopher and epistemologist Étienne Bonnot de Condillac was born. A leading advocate in France of the ideas of John Locke de Condillac further emphasized the importance of language in logical reasoning, stressing the need for a scientifically designed language and for mathematical calculation as its basis. Étienne de Condillac was born at Grenoble as the youngest of three brothers to Gabriel Bonnot, Vicomte de Mably, and…
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The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

Madame de Staël (1766-1817) On July 14, 1817, French woman of letters of Swiss origin Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, commonly known as Madame de Staël, passed away. She was one of Napoleon’s principal opponents. Celebrated for her conversational eloquence, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life of her times. Her works, both critical and fictional, made their mark on the history of European Romanticism. She was a remarkable woman,…
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