Pre-renaissance Humanism

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Some authors have used this term to describe the Western historical humanism that began to develop in the mid-eleventh century. Among the exponents of this humanism can be included the Goliard poets and the French cathedral schools of the twelfth century. Numerous specialists have observed that in this pre-Renaissance humanism there can already be seen a new image of the human being and of the human personality. This is constructed and expressed through action, and it is in this sense that the will is given greater importance than speculative intelligence. Additionally, a new attitude toward nature appears, and it is no longer regarded as a simple creation of God and a vale of tears for mortals, but as the domain of the human being and, in some cases, the seat and body of God. Lastly, this new attitude toward the physical universe reinforces the study of the many aspects of the material world, tending to explain it as comprised of immanent forces requiring no theological concepts for their understanding. This demonstrates early on a clear orientation toward experimentation and a tendency toward mastering natural laws. The world now becomes the kingdom of humankind, which is to dominate it through a knowledge of the sciences.