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(Latin form: Petrus Ramus)

French philosopher. Born 1515, died 1572.

Pierre de la Ramée attempted to replace all forms of technical logic with an informal system of argumentative procedures. This "dialectic", which was distantly related to Aristotelian topics, was nevertheless more rhetoric than logic, and its proponents (called the ramists) frquently used it for literary analysis.

In 1561, Ramée had converted from Catholicism to Calvinism. This cost him his life during the violent attacks on the French Huguenots in Paris on St. Bartholomew's Night. Ramée's teachings achieved some popularity in Northern Europe for several decades after his death, since he was regarded as a Protestant martyr.

Among Ramée's more curious contributions to the world are the so-called ramistic letters - to wit, J and V. In Gramere (1562), Ramée suggested the introduction of these two letters for consonantal use of I and U, respectively, which would henceforth be vowels only. This was not a new suggestion, but through the medium of the printing press, it achieved its maturity with Ramée, and the new letters were gradually assumed into the vernacular (non-Latin) languages of Europe. A brief fad for using them in Latin orthography has all but died out, however.

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