Philosophy can be incredibly dry at times, giving it a bad name. With all of its jargon, complex theories, and intricate history, philosophy is strictly scholarly, intimidating intellectuals, scaring away laypeople, and attracting very little attention, as most people prefer to stay away from the dense topic; what people tend to overlook, though, is that philosophy is not always boring, for philosophy is filled with humorous yet interesting anecdotes concerning famous philosophers. So, without further ado, I present part four of Philosophy Fun Facts, which will be a short series of quirky but educational fun facts about philosophers and philosophy.
Medieval theologian John Scotus Eriugena (815-877) and Renaissance Humanist Petrus Ramus (1515-1572) were major figures for their time, time that was sadly cut short. The latter of the two was a celebrated logician, having written a commentary and revision on Aristotle’s logic and then going on to bring back the dialectic. Tragically, during the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Ramus was murdered. His predecessor, Eriugena, did much to revamp Platonism and wrote a good deal about Neoplatonism, too. Alfred the Great invited him to Oxford, and it is told he died when his students stabbed him repeatedly with their pens…
Giordano Bruno’s Heresy
During the Renaissance, Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) became the prime target of the Catholic Church. Bruno is infamous for the heretic ideas he had at the time, namely that the Earth orbited the Sun–not the other way around–and that there was an infinite number of worlds. The former theory, championed later by Copernicus, went against the Church. Bruno claimed there were billions of solar systems and billions of planets out there, a belief accepted today. Unfortunately for him, though, he was publicly burned at the stake for his beliefs.
For further reading:
501 Things You Should Have Learned About Philosophy by Alison Rattle (2012)
1001 Ideas That Changed the Way We Think by Robert Arp (2013)
The Essentials of Philosophy by James Mannion (2006)
The Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Nietzsche (1888)
The Dream of Reason by Anthony Gottlieb (2000)
History of Philosophy by Julian Marias (1967)