The Renaissance, the Reformation and the Rise of Nations

The Renaissance, the Reformation and the Rise of Nations - Andrew C. Fix History in it's proper context is always relative to current times and is the best antidote to the stupidity in which I routinely see happening around especially during the political season.

This lecture starts the Renaissance with Florence and even will tell you practically the day that the Renaissance started. In 1382, Florence was in the process of losing a war with one of their weaker neighbors and the General leading the assault against Florence died and thereby saved Florence from defeat.

The city fathers decided to look at what had gone wrong and one of the things is they realized that their scholasticism was only geared towards producing Lawyers, Doctors and Theologians and not critical thinkers able to generalize from the particular to the universal (science and philosophy previously was not inductive, but deductive, from the universal to the particular).

The city fathers made a concerted effort to teach the people how to think critically and to conceptualize beyond the old standards. By rejecting the old ways of scholasticism, they led to providing a modern perspective which will ultimately lead to the Enlightenment. The Florentine city fathers would have realized how nothing could be more stupid than to have a politician be cheered when he says that "a welder is worth more than a philosopher" (this is an actual example from this current political season, and highlights the stupidity currently going on). That statement is wrong for multiple reasons. A person's worth doesn't come from what he does for a living, welders make good philosophers, and teaching one how to think critically is always a good thing to do. In the case of Florence it's going to ultimately lead to the creation of an Isaac Newton.

I don't want to imply that the reformation and nation building parts of this lecture are not relevant to today's times for they are and were just as entertaining as the Renaissance parts were. I just wish people who cheered such stupid statements as the one cited above would read (or listen) to history and science books and lectures and start to think beyond what they see on their TVs and blogs and get themselves out of the scholastic mindset and start to learn to think critically.

The lecturer does devote two hours to the development of science up to Isaac Newton and explains the Aristotelian Ptolemaic system better than most books I've read on the development of science. He'll end the lecture at the early Enlightenment, and he covers all the steps that are necessary for the creation of an Isaac Newton and a Pierre Bayle (one of my all time favorite people and I'm glad this lecture gives him his proper place within the Enlightenment, if only briefly).