Ramists the followers of Peter Ramus, a French logician in the 16th century, who distinguished himself by his opposition to the philosophy of Aristotle. From the high estimation in which the Stagyrite was at that time held, it was accounted a heinous crime to controvert his opinions; and Ramus, accordingly, was tried and condemned as being guilty of subverting sound morality and religion. The sole ground of his offence was that he had framed a system of logic at variance with that of Aristotle. "The attack which Ramus made," says the elder M'Crie, in his Life of Melville, "on the Peripatetic philosophy was direct, avowed, powerful, persevering, and irresistible. He possessed an acute mind, acquaintance with ancient learning, an ardent love of truth, and invincible courage in maintaining it. He had applied himself with avidity to the study of the logic of Aristotle; and the result as a conviction that it was an instrument utterly unfit for discovering truth in any of the sciences, and answering no other purpose than that of scholastic wrangling and digladiation. His conviction he communicated to the public; and, in spite of all the resistance made by ignorance and prejudice, he succeeded in bringing over a great part of the learnedl world to his views. What Luther was in the Church, Ramus was in the schools. He overthrew the infallibility of the Stagyrite, and proclaimed the right of mankind to thinkl for themselves in matters of philosophy — a right which he maintained with the most undaunted fortitude, and which he sealed with his blood. If Ramus had not shaken the authority of the long- venerated Organon of Aristotle, the worldm might not have seen the Novum Organum of Bacon. The faults of the Ramean system of dialectics have long been acknowledged. It proceeded upon the radical principles of the logic of Aristotle; its distinctions often turned more upon words than things; and the artificial method and uniform partitions which it prescribed in treating every subject were unnatural, and calculated to fetter, instead of forwarding, the mind in the discovery of truth. But it discarded many of the useless speculations and much of the unmeaning jargon respecting predicables, predicaments, and topics which made so great a figure in the ancient logic. It inculcated upon its disciples the necessity of accuracy and order in arranging their own ideas and in analyzing those of others. And as it advanced no claim to infallibility. submitted all its rules to the test of practical usefulness, and set the only legitimate end of the whole logical apparatus constantly before the eye of the student, its faults were soon discovered, and yielded readily to a more improved method of reasoning and investigation." After the death of Ramus his logic found very extensive favor and acceptance in various countries of Europe. He defined logic to be "ars bene disserendi," and like Cicero considered rhetoric an essential branch of it. It was introduced by Melancthon into Germany; it had supporters also in Italy; and even in France itself, where the logic of the Stagyrite was held in veneration, the Ramean system was largely favored. Andrew Melville taught the doctrines of Ramus at Glasgow, and his work on logic passed through various editions in England before 1600. The same system was also known at this time in Switzerland, Holland, and Denmark. The most noteworthy Ramists were, among others, Andomar Talaeus (Talon) and his two disciples, Thomasius Frigius, of Fribourg, and Franciscus Fabricius; Fr. Benchus, Wilh. Ad. Scribonius, and Gaspar Pfaffrad. There was also a class of eclectics who tried to unite the method of Ramus with the Aristotelian logic of Melancthon. Among these, most noteworthy is Rudolph Goclenius, who was of service to psychology, and whose pupil, Otto Cassman, prosecuted his researches into psychological anthropology. To these may be added the poet John Milton. See Waddington, Ramus (Paris, 1855, 8vo), where a catalogue of Ramist works is given; Desmaze, Ramus (1864); and Cantor, in Gelzer's Protest. Monatsblatter, Aug. 2, 1867.

Bible concordance for RAM.

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