RA'MUS, PETRUS ( Latinized form of Picrre de la llamee) (1515-72). A French humanist. phi losopher, and mathematician, born at the village of Cuth, in Vermandois, the son of a charcoal burner of noble descent. In his twelfth year he became servant to a rich student at the College de Navarre; and by devoting the day to his master, obtained the night for study, and made rapid progress. He was profoundly dissatisfied with the scholasticism and authori tarianism of the day, and showed his contempt for the idol of the times by maintaining as his thesis for his master's degree in 1536 that all that Aristotle had said was false. Ramus, with two learned friends. opened a special class for reading the Greek and Latin authors. designed to combine the study of eloquence with that of philosophy. His audience was large, and his success as a teacher remarkable. Ile now turned his attention more particularly to the science of logic, which, in his usual adventurous spirit, he undertook to reform. His attempts excited much hostility among the _Aristotelians. and when his treatise on the subject (.1ni»ualrer shales in Dialecticam Aristotelis) appeared in 1543, it was fiercely assailed by the doctors of the Sorbonne, who managed to get it suppressed by an edict of Francis T. Tint Ramus had power ful friends, through whose influence he was, in 1545. appointed principal of the College de Presles, which he raised from a condition of decay to the most splendid .prosperity. In 1551, under Henry II., the Cardinal of Lorraine suc ceeded in instituting for him a chair of eloquence and philosophy at the College de France. Tie
mingled largely in the literary and scholastic disputes of the thne, and, on account of his bustling activity, came under the satire of Rabe lais. He had long been suspected of a leaning toward Protestantism. and he ventured formally to abjure the old faith. The outbreak of the religious wars drove him from France to Ger many and Switzerland, where he continued his academic activity. Unfortunately, lie returned to Paris in 1571, and was one of the victims of the of Saint Bartholomew.
Ramus holds a most honorable place in the list of intellectual reformers. His assault on scholas ticism is vigorous, and, on the whole, well directed; in his assertion of reason as the su preme criterion of truth, he must be regarded as the forerunner of Descartes and the modern world. His system of logic, by which perhaps his name is best known, is marked by its lucid definitions, its natural divisions, and its simpli fication of the rules of the syllogism; but it fails to make any real advance upon the old logic. His followers were a widespread and for a long time a powerful body of thinkers and teachers. Consult: Waddington, Remus, so vie, ses ecrits ct scs opinions (Paris, 1855) ; Desmaze, L'onius (ih., 1864) ; Lobstein, Remus als Theolog 1878) Voigt. reber den llamismus der rnirersitiit Leipzig (Leipzig, 1888).