Institutio Oratoria: Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza
Rhetoric as Propaedeutics to Philosophy – this is the upshot of the present study on philological aspects in the life and works of Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, René Descartes and Baruch de Spinoza. Against the backdrop of a general historical setting the book provides a detailed account of the different educational paths of the four philosophers as well as their attempts to continue rhetorical training during adulthood. Additional chapters on preferred language(s), reading habits, didactic aims and writing strategies produce further evidence for the hypothesis of a lifelong occupation with the classical art of argument and persuasion. It thus emerges that Rhetoric retains its relevance for the making of a philosopher in the Seventeenth century even among reformist and rationalist movements that are commonly portrayed as hostile to the classical tradition.