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Metaphysics

Renaissance to the PresentThe Renaissance (1433–1617)

Better and more widely available texts of the writings of Plato mark the Renaissance. The new, widespread distribution of Platonic and Neoplatonic works, due in large part to the work of Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499) led to a major revival of those views. One of Ficino's most influential views is his account of a hierarchy of perfection among existing things in which the highest thing, God, possesses the most perfection and the lowest thing, the body, the least.

The philosophy of the Renaissance remained, however, generally Scholastic. That is, it was dominated by Aristotelian views as codified by medieval commentators. Among Scholastics, Francisco Suárez (1548–1617) is notable for offering a definition of metaphysics as the science of being qua being, which distinguishes metaphysics from less lofty accounts of accidental features of existing things and focuses inquiry on the nature of being itself. Suárez's seminal work, Disputationes metaphysicae (1597), also offered an original account of the metaphysical status of universals, in which it is true that only individual things exist but contrary to nominalism—the view that universal terms are merely labels for arbitrary collections of individuals—it is also true that universals are abstractions from nonconventional similarities among individuals.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Mathematics to Methanal trimerMetaphysics - Renaissance to the Present - The Renaissance (1433–1617), The Early Modern Period (1561–1753), Final Causes, Kant's "copernican Revolution" In Metaphysics