Peter Ramus and the Basis of Logic
Drawing on numerous biographical and critical sources, and paying particular attention to the sociohistorical context of sixteenth-century Europe, this chapter charts Peter Ramus’s rise in French academia. Ramus’s search for a natural method of rational inquiry posited his willingness to court controversy. The manner of Ramus’s inquiry evinced his reluctance to compromise. His master’s thesis of 1536, Quæcumque ab Aristotele dicta sunt, commentitia sunt, announced that unwillingness. Ramus’s two publications from 1543, Dialecticae partitiones and Aristotelicae animadversiones, confirmed the contentiousness of that reluctance. Ramus’s initial target was the reformation of dialectic. He proceeded to reassess rhetoric. Ramus considered rhetoric intimate with, but separate and subservient to, dialectic. His radical humanism even alienated some humanists.