Selected Problems of Metaphysics and Ontology
7. Criticism of Metaphysics
Relativization or even criticism of metaphysics emerges from the previous chapter. Of course, the criticism of metaphysics already existed before the twentieth cen- tury. It was suggested in Kant’s “Copernican revolution” in the previous chapter, but we can go farther back in the history of philosophy. For example, in the time of the Renaissance a strong anti-metaphysical approach emerged in several authors: Pico della Mirandola, Eras- mus of Rotterdam, Michel de Montaigne, Francesco Petrarca, and others. Their criticism concerned a par- ticular type of metaphysics, in particular scholastic met- aphysics. The mentioned authors perceive metaphysics as a disadvantageous discipline because it does not allow any speciﬁ c knowledge, it even completely lacks humil- ity when determining the borders of human knowledge. A legitimate approach suggested by the Renaissance 46 critics was scepticism. Erasmus of Rotterdam brilliantly expressed the vanity of metaphysics in his treatise In Praise of Folly: “And these most subtle subtleties are ren- dered yet more subtle by the several methods of so many Schoolmen, that one might sooner wind himself out of a lab- yrinth than the entanglements of the realists, nominalists, Thomists, Albertists, Occamists, Scotists. Nor have I named all the several sects, but only some of the chief; in all which there is so much doctrine and so much diffi culty that I may well conceive the apostles, had they been to deal with these new kind of divines, had needed to have prayed in aid of some other spiri.” (The Praise of Folly, p....
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