Ramus, Peter

Ramus, Peter


(in French, Pierre de la Ramée; in Latin, Petrus Ramus). Born 1515 in Cuts, Vermandois; died Aug. 26, 1572, in Paris. French humanist, philosopher, and logician.

Ramus received his education at the University of Paris, where he later taught. In 1544 he was dismissed from his teaching post for fighting against scholasticism, but in 1551 he was made a professor at the Collège de France. Ramus adopted Calvinism in 1561 and was forced to flee France in 1568. He lectured in Heidelberg and later returned to Paris. He was killed on the third day of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.

In his master’s thesis, entitled Whatever Aristotle Has Said Is a Fabrication (1536), and in subsequent works, Ramus sharply criticized scholastic Aristotelianism. In his own philosophy, he maintained that reason must take priority over authority. To scholasticism, with its abstract speculations, he counterposed the idea of a logically based and practically oriented method, which he called the art of invention. According to Ramus, such a method should be created by means of the “new” logic, which was called upon to study the “natural process of thinking.” Influenced by the ideas of Cicero, Ramus called for a closer relationship between logic and rhetoric.

The teachings of Ramus were very influential in a number of countries during the 16th and 17th centuries. His views influenced G. W. von Leibniz and Port-Royal logic.


Dialecticae institutiones. Paris, 1543.
Aristotelicae animadversiones. Paris, 1543.
Dialectique. Paris, 1555.


Istorila filosofi, vol. 2. Moscow, 1941. Pages 37–38.
L’vov, S. “Zhizn’ i smert’ Petra Ramusa: Istoricheskii ocherk.” Novyi mir, 1967, no. 9.
Desmaze, C. P. Ramus: Sa Vie, ses écrits, sa mort. Paris, 1864.
Hooykaas, R. Humanisme, science et ré forme: Pierre de la Ramée. Leiden, 1958.
Ong, W. J. Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue. Cambridge, Mass., 1958.


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