Domingo Gundisalvo y Daniel de Morley acerca del establecimiento y conservación de la causalidad del universo

International Conference Explicatio y ratio naturae. Comprensiones medievales sobre el origen del universo, Pamplona (Spain), 16 January 2018.

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 07.40.51Daniel of Morley’s Philosophia and Dominicus Gundissalinus’s De processione mundi are two very relevant synthesis of twelfth-century cosmology. Written in the same period, both works receive the new texts translated into Latin in Toledo, but with very different approaches: while Gundissalinus grounds his reflection on metaphysical sources, and Avicenna in particular, Daniel tends to use with more perspicacity the natural writings translated in the previous decades. My contribution will analyse the discussion on primary and secondary causality presented by these two authors, pointing out how a very same phenomenon, i.e., the Toledan translation movement, can be seen as the origin of two extremely different reflections, which nonetheless share the same purpose of contributing to the solution of the very same problems and questions on the derivation of the ontic multiplicity from God.

Chaos in Toledo: Gundissalinus, Daniel of Morley, and the Chartrean Tradition.

International Conference: Scire naturam: filosofia e ciências, da antiguidade ao início da modernidade, Porto (Portugal), 26-28 February 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 12.24.26 pm.pngMy contribution focuses on a specific and fascinating historical moment of the course of the doctrine of primordial chaos – the end of the twelfth century – and on two peculiar authors, Dominicus Gundissalinus and Daniel of Morley. They are two important witnesses of how the Greek- and Arabic-into-Latin translation movements progressively reshaped the philosophical approach to the doctrine of primordial chaos and to Plato’s Timaeus in general. Both studying in Toledo in the second half of the century, Gundissalinus and Daniel supposedly had access to a wide range of new sources through which construct a different description of the cosmic institution beyond the traditional reference to Plato. Both authors combine Arabic sources with twelfth-century auctoritates: the outcomes of their reflections, though, are rather different in both scope and approach.

Pass the Buck, Stop the Book. Arabic Philosophy in Latin Europe Before Michael Scot

International Conference: Crossing Lands. Spreading knowledge in the Near East and the Mediterranean from Late Antiquity to Middle Ages, Cordoba (Spain), 14 March 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 11.37.02 pm.pngCirculation, reception, and criticism of Arabic philosophy during the fifty years separating Gundissalinus and Michael Scot is yet a matter of hypothesis, if not a real mystery: few authors and texts are available, while the destination of the Toledan translations, and consequently their demand, is still unproven, In this paper, I will try to re-address the question of how these texts circulated throughout Europe by asking an additional question, that is, how successful was Gundissalinus’s peculiar attempt at merging Avicenna’s and Ibn Gabirol’s metaphysical accounts, a question which, in turn, corresponds to asking what is the history of the effects of Gundissalinus’s ontology in the first decades after its elaboration.

Nicholas of Cusa and Gundissalinus: A Prelude on Matter

International Conference: East-Western Transmission of Knowledge. An International Colloquium on Methods of Research, International Colloquium Convened by Forschungsstelle Philosophie- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte der griechisch-arabisch-lateinischen Tradition (Universität Würzburg) and Cordoba Near Eastern Research Unit (University of Córdoba), Cordoba, 3 April 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 8.51.13 am.pngTwo hundred and fifty years and around a thousand miles separate the peculiar thinkers on which this talk is going to focus: Dominicus Gundissalinus and Nicholas of Cusa. While the latter is surely one of the most original and important thinkers of the Renaissance, Gundissalinus is a rather unstudied and often forgotten character of that ‘philosophical revolution’ taking place between the end of the twelfth- and the beginning of the thirteenth century. Living in different times and places, both Gundissalinus and Cusa are eminent witnesses of the exhaustion of shared philosophical traditions and the very construction of new frameworks and theoretical landscapes.

Sources of Light: Remarks on the Grosseteste/Avicebron Connection

International Conference Science Imagination and Wonder – Robert Grosseteste and His Legacy, Oxford (UK), 3-6 April 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 8.49.28 amRobert Grosseteste’s doctrine of light, with its metaphysical and physical implications, is one of the most intriguing and fascinating theories of the Latin Middle Ages. Identified with the first form joining matter in God’s creation of the universe, but also used to explain physical dynamics of movement and causality, lux and lumen, its ontical correlative, play a pivotal role in Grosseteste’s scientific and philosophical reflection. What sources Grosseteste used to ground his theory? Recent studies have pointed out the relevance of peculiar sources – such as Artephius’s Clavis sapientiae – for Grosseteste’s elaboration. Its main source, though, still appears to be a rather problematic work: Avicebron’s Font of Life – with the possible addition of the Latin translator of this text, the Iberian philosopher Dominicus Gundissalinus.  In my paper, I will re-assess the problem of the Grosseteste/Avicebron connection in relation to the doctrine of light. Problems of consistency within Grosseteste’s approach and reflection will be addressed in order to understand the reasons behind his acceptation of a redundant, but yet metaphorical and marginal point of Ibn Gabirol’s speculation, hopefully casting some light on whether the Font of Life actually is the main source of Grosseteste’s doctrine.

Expanding Matter: Cosmologies of Light in Artephius and Grosseteste

53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies (Session: Structures of Order in Medieval Science I: Experience and Authorities), Kalamazoo (MI), 10-13 May 2018.

Light and Matter. My paper will examine the interaction between these two principles of existence in the intriguing cosmologies elaborated by two peculiar authors: ‘Artephius’ (Clavis sapientiae) and Robert Grosseteste (De luce). Examination of their cosmogonies and descriptions of the first moments of the universal institution will provide the ground to address the intricate question of how a mysterious Hermetical text and a well-known English philosopher shared the same approach to the never-ending problem of matter’s dimensionality.

Avicennian Cosmologies? Remarks on Grosseteste and ‘the Arabs’

Aquinas and the Arabs Annual Fall Meeting, Mexico City (MX), 23-25 September 2018.

38799148_10156592025222552_8437850843725692928_n.jpgIt is usually acknowledged that Robert Grosseteste was one of the first thirteenth-century Latin philosopher in studying, quoting, and being influenced by ‘the Arabs,’ particularly Avicenna, Averroes, and Ibn Gabirol. At a closer look, thought, the situation appears to be rather different, as Grosseteste’s use of his sources – rarely mentioned by name – is very peculiar. My paper will explore presence and influence of Arabic authors on Grosseteste’s early production, up to De luce, stressing the singularity of his approach to the philosophy of ‘the Arabs.’

From Matter to Materiality: Premodern Quests for Knowing the Principle of Corporeality

2018 Meeting of the History of Science Society, Seattle (WA), 1-4 November 2018.

For a premodern scientist, matter is what made an apple this apple and also distinguished that apple from the mental idea. Matter was the carrier of three-dimensional extension and the bearer of forms, which in turn articulated the patterns of definition, shape, and intrinsic nature of this or any apple. Premodern knowing depended on form whence matter appears to inevitably escape it – as matter is, by definition, what is other than form.  How was the premodern understanding of corporeality shaped by the grounding and yet shadowy functions by matter? And how could premodern thinkers grasp what matter is – and subsequently how it can properly satisfy the physical conditions of dimensionality and corporeality – if matter cannot be known? This paper will examine two alternative strategies that were put in place to resolve this puzzle in the High Middle Ages: the denial that knowing matter is possible (Aquinas) and the assumption that it can be known albeit feebly and mediatedly (Scotus and Ockham). While both strategies meant to resolve this puzzle, they also contributed to stress the theoretical flaws which originated by the tension between the physical functions of matter and its (un)knowability. This crucial impasse would facilitate the identification of matter and materiality, as it required philosophers and scientists to provide new answers and narratives beyond the Aristotelian tradition and to drastically contribute to the final ousting of Aristotelian metaphysics from natural science.