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‘Historia praestat omnibus disciplinis’: Juan Luis Vives on history and historical study

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Juan Luis Vives (1492–1540) is justly celebrated as a philosopher of education, language, and psychology. Unfortunately, posterity has largely overlooked Vives's historical thought. Notably in De disciplinis (1531), the most comprehensive of his writings, Vives unfolds a remarkable view of the meaning of the past which runs through his work like a continuous thread, giving a historical dimension to his ideas on culture and education. This article aims to demonstrate the importance of Vives as a historical theorist, examining his discussion of the nature of history in De disciplinis, his idea of progress, and his views on the study of history. In particular two diverging accounts of the origins of learning emerge, which have philosophical implications, as well as a number of important restrictions on the study of history. Comparison of his views with those of contemporary humanists, notably Erasmus, brings out clearly Vives's originality in this field. (pp. 69–83)
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Keywords: Desiderius Historiography Humanism Renaissance ideas of progress Vives; Educational thought Erasmus; Juan Luis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen

Publication date: 01 March 2003

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