What was the focus of Renaissance philosophers' criticism?

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A pretty broad array of thinkers can be categorized as "Renaissance philosophers," and their targets of criticism were varied. But in general, Renaissance philosophers in Europe embraced the concept of humanism, an intellectual orientation that emphasized the study of classical texts as a means of studying man himself. From this, they argued that medieval philosophy (this was, above all, the focus of their criticism) was dogmatic and limited. According to Renaissance writers like Pico della Mirandola, whose Oration on the Dignity of Man set the agenda in some ways for Renaissance philosophers, man was to be glorified, not degraded. "[M]an," according to Mirandola, "is rightfully named a magnificent miracle and a wondrous creation." Where medieval scholars supposedly had emphasized the debased nature of man versus the perfection of God, Renaissance humanists celebrated the notion that God had made man in his image, and that man was to be celebrated and even perfected. We can see this idea in very different ways in Renaissance art, literature, and even in the works of humanists like Machiavelli, who pioneered the idea of republican government.

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