Formation of the "Self-Made-Man" Idea in the Worldview of the Renaissance and Reformation




"Self-made-man" idea, self-determined personality, ideological legitimacy, Renaissance and Reformation


The purpose of this study is the reflection on ways of philosophical legitimation for the "Self-made-man" idea in the worldview of the Renaissance and Reformation. Theoretical basis. Historical, comparative, and hermeneutic methods became the basis for this. The study is based on the works of Nicholas of Cusa, G. Pico della Mirandola, N. Machiavelli, M. Montaigne, E. Roterodamus, M. Luther, J. Calvin together with modern researchers of this period. Originality. The analysis allows us to come to the conclusion that casts doubt on the still widespread belief according to which the emergence of the "Self-made-man" idea is localized by the process of forming the American cultural code and the ideological heritage of Benjamin Franklin. It is highlighted that the formation of this idea is the result of a long process that originated in the ancient world and gains a special impetus in the Renaissance and Reformation. Precisely in the cultural context of the latter, the ancient intention to recognize the individual’s right to self-determination and self-government, which in the depths of Christian theology acquires only a potentially universal character, becomes not only acceptable but also, in the context of Protestantism worldview, the only admissible, in fact, individual’s obligatory life guidelines. Conclusions. Humanistic and reformation thoughts quite naturally led to further ideological legitimation of the person’s idea of who is creating oneself. This legitimation was during the complex interaction of numerous factors of culture in the Late Middle Ages, as well as ideas and intentions inherited from Antiquity. Key among them was the gradual formation of a new social order, in essence, indifferent to paternalistic rudiments, together with the ethics of Protestantism corresponding to it. The latter does not only legalize but, de facto, sacralizes the individual’s reorientation from hopes for the synergy of God’s grace and own free will in personal salvation, toward the self-reliance and personal efforts, awareness of personal responsibility for the own fate as key principles of the "Self-made-man" concept.


Antonova, V. Y., & Korkh, O. M. (2021). Formation of the "Self-Made-Man" Idea in the Context of the Christian Middle Ages. Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research, (19), 117-126. DOI: (in English)

Bazaluk, O. (2020). Origen’s and St. Augustine’s Ideas on Education. Studia Warmińskie, 57, 129-141. DOI: (in English)

Calvin, J. (1986). Іnstitutes of the Christian Religion (J. Schulha, Trans.). Atlanta-Toronto: Ukrainian Evangelical Alliance of North America. (іn Ukrainian)

Luther, M. (2006). The Bondage of the Will (J. I. Packer & O. R. Johnston, Trans.). Fleming H. Revell Company. (in English)

Malivskyi, A., & Khmil, V. (2019). "The Passions of the Soul" by R. Descartes as an Explication of the Anthropological and Ethical Project. Studia Warmińskie, 56, 149-160. DOI: (in English)

Montaigne, M. E. de. (2005). Essais (A. Perepadia, Trans., Vol. 1). Kyiv: Dukh i Litera. (іn Ukrainian)

Muller, R. A. (2020). Grace and Freedom: William Perkins and the Early Modern Reformed Understanding of Free Choice and Divine Grace. Oxford University Press. DOI: (in English)

Nicholas of Cusa. (1985). On Learned Ignorance (De Docta Ignorantia). Minneapolis: The Arthur J. Banning Press. (in English)

Parkhomenko, R. N. (2014). Ideya svobody v epokhu Vozrozhdeniya i Novoe vremya. Filosofiya i kultura, (2), 227-238. DOI: (in Russian)

Paynter, S. E. (2022). Calvinism: An Introduction and Comparison with the Main Historic Christian Alternatives. Retrieved from (in English)

Pico della Mirandola, G. (2013). Promova pro hidnist liudyny. Vsesvit, (11-12), 44-63. (іn Ukrainian)

Pitkin, B. (2020). Calvin, the Bible, and History. Oxford University Press. DOI: (in English)

Pocock, J. G. A. (2020). The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (T. Pirusskaya, Trans.). Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. (in Russian)

Roterodamus, E. (1987). Filosofskie proizvedeniya (Y. M. Kagan, Trans.). Moscow: Nauka. (in Russian)




How to Cite

Korkh, O. M., & Antonova, V. Y. (2022). Formation of the "Self-Made-Man" Idea in the Worldview of the Renaissance and Reformation. Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research, (21), 94–102.