Philosophy and the Language of the People: The Claims of Common Speech from Petrarch to Locke

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Which language should philosophers use: technical or common language? In a
book as important for intellectual historians as it is for philosophers, Lodi Nauta
addresses a vital question which still has resonance today: is the discipline
of philosophy assisted or disadvantaged by employing a special vocabulary?
By the Middle Ages, philosophy had become a highly technical discipline,
with its own lexicon and methods. The Renaissance humanist critique of this
specialized language has been dismissed as philosophically superficial, but the
author demonstrates that it makes a crucial though controversial point: it is
through the misuse of language that philosophical problems arise. He charts
the influence of this critique on early modern philosophers, including Hobbes
and Locke, and shows how it led to the downfall of medieval Aristotelianism
and the gradual democratization of language and knowledge. This book will
be essential reading for anyone interested in the transition from medieval to
modern philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages275
ISBN (Print)9781108845960
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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