Like appearances, words can be deceptive. The words that historians use to describe the intellectual and social aspects of the past often foster a false impression in modern minds: “humanism,” “renaissance,” “feudalism,” “enlightenment,” “dialectic,” are modern linguistic innovations, which reflect today’s sensibilities and have little to with the past. The scholars in the fifteenth century didn’t use the term “humanism”; they were not aware of the concept of humanism—they didn’t think they were living in the period of the Renaissance. Between the ninth and fifteenth centuries, people didn’t see their social system as feudalism—they had a different conception of their society. The term “enlightenment” came into being in the middle of the nineteenth century and it quickly acquired a meaning that is different from the way the French Enlightenment philosophes saw themselves. Aristotle uses the word “dialectic,” not in the modern Kantian sense but for the science of what happens when, instead of thinking by ourselves, we try to convince others.