Potestas Essendi

A Virtual Space for Thoughts on the Middle Ages, by Nicola Polloni



January 2018 – Talk: 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.

February 2018 – Talk: The Earth, Above and Below: Pioneering Cosmology in a Twelfth-Century Treatise on the Peregrinations of the Soul. International Conference Scire naturam: filosofia e ciências, da antiguidade ao início da modernidade, Porto (Portugal), 26-28 February 2018.

March 2018 – Talk: A Matter of Possibility: Nicolaus Cusanus, Gundissalinus, and Thierry of Chartres on the Material Substrate. 2018 Congress of the Renaissance Society of America (Panel: Metaphor and Mysticism: Reading Nicholas of Cusa in Seventeenth-Century England, organised by the American Cusanus Society), New Orleans, 22-24 March 2018.

My paper will analyse Nicholas of Cusa’s discussion of the material substrate and the influence he seems to receive from two quite peculiar twelfth-century sources: Thierry of Chartres and Dominicus Gundissalinus. In particular, I will address two main questions on matter. On the one hand, the problems arising from the consideration of coming-to-be of the substrate in the doctrinal framework offered by the creative relation between God and Universe. On the other hand, I will focus on the conceptual bond linking matter to possibility, and the non-Aristotelian positions on the substrate held by the three authors: positions substantially different, but bound together by a certain degree of continuity in both questions and answers concerning the fundamental physical and metaphysical role played by matter.

April 2018 – Talk: laton, latón, latten: Remarks on the History of a Peculiar Term. International Conference East-Western Transmission of Knowledge. An International Colloquium on Methods of Research, Cordoba (Spain), 3 April 2018.

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