History of the Human Sciences 24 (5):0952695111410929 (2011)

Juan Huarte de San Juan (1529–88) was a physician of the Spanish Renaissance. He wrote the Examen de Ingenios para las Ciencias, translated as The Trial of Men’s Wits (1989[1575–94]), a book that has been acknowledged as a precursor of educational psychology, organizational psychology, behaviorism, neuropsychology and psychiatry. Huarte suggested that before beginning a course of study, students’ intellectual capabilities (i.e. ingenio) should be matched up with the professional studies that best suit their aptitudes. His book had a great impact in Europe from the late 16th century to the mid-18th century. The influence of the Trial spread throughout many areas including philosophy, politics, linguistics and literature. Although there has been a growing interest in Huarte’s work in recent years, biographical studies have been rare; as a result, the information about Huarte’s life is currently incomplete, scattered and sometimes inaccurate. This study presents a systematic archival research on Spanish original sources. We present a reconstruction of Huarte’s life-story based on 32 original documents (1549–c.1650), some of them first discovered during the present survey. Documents are described according to the General International Standard of Archival Description, ISAD(G). The documents uncovered allow for a reappraisal of Huarte’s biography
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DOI 10.1177/0952695111410929
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