CALL FOR PAPERS
De intellectu: Greek, Arabic, Latin, and Hebrew Texts and Their Influence on Medieval Philosophy. A Tribute to Rafael Ramón Guerrero
University of Porto, 6th-7th February 2020
Philosophy changed radically during the Middle Ages as a result of the translation of a considerable number of texts by Aristotle and his followers from Greek into Arabic, Latin and Hebrew. As an example, epistemological and anthropological questions were rethought and substantively reshaped in the Latin world after the translations of Aristotle’s De anima by James of Venice and William of Moerbeke (from Greek), and by Michael Scot (from Arabic, together with Averroes’s long commentary on it), after it had been successively translated into Syriac and Arabic. This crucial and complex process followed an already long and parallel history of paraphrases and commentaries on this work in Greek, Syriac and Arabic.
The discussion of De anima III.4-5, on the intellect, was conditioned or driven by a large number of texts from different periods. Among those texts are the Greek commentaries or paraphrases on De anima by Alexander of Aphrodisias, Themistius, Simplicius, John Philoponus, and Averroes, alongside independent short treatises, such as Alexander of Aphrodisias’s De intellectu et intellecto, al-Kindī’s De intellectu, al-Fārābī’s De intellectu et intellecto, Averroes’ Epistula de connexione intellectus abstracti cum homine, and his son’s Epistula de intellectu. In several other works “intellect” plays a most pivotal role, such as in Plotinus’s Enneads paraphrased in the Arabic Theologia Aristotelis and in Proclus’s Elementatio Theologica epitomised in the Liber de causis. Other works added to the debate, such as Avicenna’s Liber de anima, al-Ghazālī’s Summa theoricae philosophiae, Averroes’s Long Commentary on De Anima, Maimonides’ Dux neutrorum, Isaac Israeli’s Liber de definicionibus, not to mention texts from the Christian tradition, such as Nemesius of Emesa’s De natura hominis and Sophonias’ commentary on De anima. A similarly radical change occurred in thirteenth-century Jewish philosophy through the translation into Hebrew of many of these same texts, at the same time that a very different change was taking place in Arabic philosophy.
“Nous” – rendered as ‘aql, sekhel, intellectus, and their vernacular derivatives – became a key philosophical concept in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, being intimately connected to a wide range of issues in psychology, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. However, because of its centrality and the manifold conflicting interpretations and solutions accompanying it, “intellect” became a highly contentious problem, one that both authors and commentators tried to disentangle within the context of overlapping Platonic, Aristotelian, Neoplatonic, and Stoic traditions. The ways intellect was conceptualized in this long period influenced and shaped the discussions of fundamental philosophical problems, such as: the body-soul relationship, intuitive and abstract knowledge, mental content, intelligible forms, immortality of the soul, happiness and the highest end of man.
Celebrating the career and the scholarly contributions of Rafael Ramón Guerrero, we welcome a discussion of current research on texts and problems concerning the intellect within the four linguistic spaces in which Aristotelian theories played a central role. We also encourage the submission of contributions centred on the circulation and diffusion of these and other texts which the historical actors in the Greek, Arabic, Latin, and Hebrew spaces used to facilitate, shape, and turn specific debates on the intellect into predominant discourses in the history of philosophy.
Rafael Ramón Guerrero (Granada, 1948), Professor of History of Medieval and Arabic Philosophy in the Facultad de Filosofía of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, along his career he has produced an outstanding contribution to teaching and research in Medieval Philosophy. He obtained his PhD in Madrid in 1979 under the supervision of José Antonio García-Junceda with a thesis entitled Contribución al estudio de la filosofía árabe: Alma e Intelecto como problemas fundamentales de la misma, which served as the basis for his book La recepción árabe del De anima de Aristóteles: Al-Kindi y Al-Farabi (Madrid 1993). This problem remained the focus of his attention in several publications, translations of Arabic philosophers, teaching, conferences, supervision of doctoral theses, and direction of research projects. His work is internationally renowned, and his academic activity is particularly influential in Spain, Portugal, and Latin-America. With this Conference, his students, colleagues and friends wish to honour the Professor, the Academic, the Scholar.
Call for papers
Open until October
30th, 2019. Send a proposal with name, institution, title, and an abstract up
to 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org
Presentation: 20 minutes + discussion. Languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, German.
José Meirinhos, Celia López, José Higuera (Porto), Nicola Polloni (Berlin), Pedro Mantas España (Córdoba).
Amos Bertolacci (Pisa; Lucca), Alexander Fidora (Barcelona), Catarina Belo (Cairo), Charles Burnett (London), Cristina D’Ancona Costa (Pisa), Gregorio Piaia (Padova), Jean-Baptiste Brenet (Paris), José Luis Villacañas (Madrid), José Meirinhos (Porto), Josep Puig Montada (Madrid), Jules Janssens (Leuven), José Luis Fuertes Herreros (Salamanca), Katja Krause (Berlin), Luis Alberto De Boni (Porto Alegre), Mário Santiago de Carvalho (Coimbra), Steven Harvey (Bar Ilan), Thérèse Cory (Notre Dame).
Sociedad de Filosofía
Medieval (Salamanca – Córdoba) — Sociedade Portuguesa de Filosofia.
Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy TL – Instituto de Filosofia da Universidade do Porto.
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia; Universidade do Porto
Shots from the enlightening talk given by Mattia Cipriani on Thomas of Cantimpré’s Liber de Natura Rerum. Almost two hours discussing source and aims, manuscripts and circulation, intricacies and implications of a fascinating author that contributed so much to the history of medieval science. Video available very soon!
Awesome conference on “Premodern Experience of the Natural World in Translation” organised by Katja Krause, Maria Avxentevskaya, and Droh Weil at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.
A couple of photos from the superb talk given by Giouli Korobili on Aristotle and Roger Bacon. Sorry for the lack of video—my fault!
A multiplicity of perspectives on a very special subject – medieval Toledo. The former capital of the Visigoths. One of the most prominent cities in al-Andalus and one of the most relevant reinos de taifa. For centuries, the most important town in Castile.
Organised by Yasmine Beale-Rivaya (Texas State University) and María José Lop Otín (Universidad de Castilla La Mancha), the conference “The Multi-Cultural Borderlands of Medieval Toledo” has been a unique occasion to discuss many aspects related to the uniqueness of medieval Toledo and its borderlands. Borders – political, cultural, and religious borders – that are superseded and rediscovered within a town that was perilous and illuminated, shelter and prison, heavenly and infernal at the same time.
A unique conference for a unique subject, fascinating and intriguing. More info at https://www.worldlang.txstate.edu/toledo/
As always, some photos of the conference and its awesome venue.
Amazing conference in Pisa. It was the Spring conference of the AAIWG—but bigger, juicer, and more impressive, if that’s possible. For four days, we have explored the intricacies of the philosophical tradition in its intertwining of languages and problems, shifts and ideas.
So many inputs in such a short time—something unique. I have reencountered many old friends (some for the first time in person after years of emails and Skype-calls) and made many more. New ideas have arisen and I will scrupulously nurture them. And new collaborations have started or are about to start—and you will see their outcomes hopefully soon.
For now, some photos of smart people (and I) having fun in different ways.
At Lincoln Cathedral, with light and colour (and lines, angles, shapes…) and a special presence. What a spectacular and unique place!
Meeting with old good friends and talking so much about so many things (yes, most of them were related to philosophy, though with much fun!) – Berlin, sometimes you are indeed so wunderbar!
Last Friday, we were intensively discussing the many problems arising from the study of Early-Franciscan Psychology. Lydia Schumacher (KLC) gave a splendid talk on her research on this fascinating topic. And we all were eager in trying to understand the reasons behind a very intriguing reception of Avicenna’s theories of soul and knowledge.
A impressively fantastic conference on Aristotle’s Physics in the Middle Ages, with superb scholars (and I). I really had some great fun and amazing time in Rome! Looking forward to meeting again Irene, Anna, and “the Cecilias” very soon — maybe in Berlin?
The OxNet-Ordered Universe 2019 seminar programme is in full swing with the 2019 cohort of school students aged 16-17 (Lower Sixth Form, Year 12) from the North-East. Students from Southmoor Academy, St Anthony’s, St Robert of Newminster, and Park View Academy,
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Can’t wait to be back in the North East for this fantastic occasion to discuss many intricate points of Premodern epistemology of matter!
It’s out! The issue 25 of Revista Española de Filosofía Medieval (or REFIME) has just been published. This year, it is a sort of special one, as we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of one of the leading scientific journals for medieval philosophy.
You can download here the introduction to issue 25.
While you can have some great fun reading articles and reviews, translations and reports at this link
No need to say that it is completely open access, as we do believe that a not shared knowledge is a precarious knowledge.
New list of books available for review (to be published in Revista Española de Filosofía Medieval). A lot of books!
The reading group on Calcidius and Ibn Gabirol is coming to an end—our last meeting is going to be on Feb 15th. We had some great fun trying to understand many intricate doctrinal points on ontology and cosmology. It has been wild. But also incredibly pleasurable. My most sincere gratitude goes to all the brave participants, each one of whom has added very valuable insights and interpretative perspectives.
Here’s a photo from the last session of the reading group.
Looking forward to seeing you all next semester, with a new reading group on an equally peculiar medieval thinker: Roger Bacon.
My friend Rosie Reed Gold visited me this weekend. It has been a special visit. Rosie is a fantastic artist based in London (you can find here some of her impressive creations and here some of the amazing photos she takes). We met in Oxford last year and since the very beginning we knew that there was something fast growing from our conversations on philosophy, art, and medieval science. A strange idea. A collaboration was looming. And it is a very special collaboration, I would say.
Different approaches to truth. There is no need to refer to Hans Georg Gadamer to see that there’s something in art which is irreducible to our standard comprehension of verbal assertions or mathematical equations. Aesthetic experiences offer a different access to something that we might call truth. A truth of the event which is in front of us. An access to a different comprehension of that event—that thing, that happening, that thought represented and therefore uncovered by the artistic creation. A non-apophantic assertion of something that is differently processed by our minds. An un-covering of a reality hidden beneath a surface of rational consideration.
There is a philosophical dimension within art that goes well beyond aesthetics. But can we talk of an artistic dimension within philosophy? Can art help us grasp something philosophically relevant from our consideration of a doctrine or maybe even in our attempts at resolving thorny interpretative problems? And what kind of knowledge would that be, if we assume that an artistic access to philosophy is indeed feasible?
Similar considerations, of course, can be made about contemporary science. Can science contribute to the solution of historically determined theoretical problems not directly related to practices and concrete realisations of something? Can scientific knowledge and an utterly scientific approach help us understanding doctrinal problems and aspects, for instance, of Premodern metaphysics? At a first glance, access, methods, and basic assumptions of contemporary science appear to impede similar applications. Which, in the best case, would result into an extemporaneous anachronistic interpretation of historically determined problems.
Not necessarily, though, and not always…
Let matter enter the scene, then! As I was saying, a daring project is looming, getting closer and closer. After two intense days of intriguing discussions, Rosie and I were exhausted yet replenished with new brilliant ideas and plans. It will be a matter of unhinging—figuratively, and perhaps also literally—some basic assumptions and linchpins. But it is always like this, isn’t it?
The second part of the Winter Semester reading group has started. Here’s the calendar:
11 Jan 2019, 10am, R241: POSTPONED TO JAN 18th!
18 Jan 2019, 10am, R241: [Vortrag] Nicola Polloni, Ibn Gabirol and Universal Hylomorphism. Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book I,
28 Jan 2019, 2.30pm, R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book I, §1-13
1 Feb 2019, 11am, R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book I, §14-17
4 Feb 2019, 2.30pm, R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book II, §1-4
15 Feb 2019, 11am, , R228: Ibn Gabirol, Fons vitae, book II, §5-8 + Final Remarks
Looking forward to seeing you there and explore together the Font of Life!
Absolutely interesting conference at Freie Universität Berlin! It is going to be a complete immersion under deep Platonic water!
I just came back from the very first event organised by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation I participated in. Three days of meetings, discussions, brain-storming, and good time shared with so many colleagues from all over the world, all together in Bonn. That was fantastic! It just feels so good to be part of a network so huge and diverse, made of so many brilliant minds and sponsored by such a generous institution. Can’t wait to attend the next one!
Just published. And amazing!
Brill’s Webpage: https://brill.com/view/title/35999
Marvellous (and sunny) Dublin! Looking forward to the Ordered Universe Symposium starting tomorrow.
Conference in Mexico City
Spectacular conference on Arabic and Latin theories of vision in Florence in September, organised by Cecilia Panti.
Arabic and Latin Science of Vision and the Theory of Perspective in Early Renaissance Florence
27-29 September 2018
SISMEL, via Montebello 7, Firenze
You can download the programme here.
Il primo di giugno abbiamo presentato presso la SISMEL di Firenze il volume Vedere nell’ombra. Studi su natura, spiritualità e scienze operative offerti a Michela Pereira. Dopo mesi di pianificazione, siamo riusciti a mantenere il ‘segreto’ e fare una bella sorpresa a Michela, che non si aspettava nulla. Una festa con amici e colleghi e un gran momento per ritrovarsi insieme e festeggiare una persona che ha dato così tanto a tutti noi.
A seguire, alcuni scatti presi durante il pomeriggio fiorentino.
Studi su natura, spiritualità e scienze operative offerti a Michela Pereira
Edited by C. Panti and N. Polloni.
Firenze: SISMEL (Micrologus’ Library 90), 2018. ISBN 978-88-8450-813-3.
A fantastic conference is going to be held in Toledo (Spain, not Ohio) next year! Here’s the Call for Papers: I look forward to see many people there, it’s going to be amazing!
One of the best things of this line of work is the oneiric dimension of travel. It is not the travel in itself to be oneiric—even though, when one travels to the US or Canada, there’s always a sleepy state that goes on for days: nothing poetic, though, just jet-lag. The oneiric dimension happens when you fly away to attend a conference or a meeting and, suddenly, you are in a completely different academic environment. There, for just a few days, you can dream of living a different life working at a different university. From this point of view, America is unparalleled and the Ordered Universe project a sort of “Traumfabrik”! It was the OU that marked May 2018 with a long trip to Montreal and Kalamazoo, and a Chicago-ending.
It was my first time in Montreal, Quebec. Sincerely, I couldn’t imagine what I was going to experience there (terrific food, more terrific food, beautiful people, awesome architecture, decadent landscapes, and much more). As always, companionship was amazing. Ordered Universe symposia and meetings are not only brilliant moments of theoretical discussion, but also great gathering of new and old friends. We always have such a good time together, and the Montreal symposium wasn’t different. We had days of incredibly fascinating and stimulating discussions on Grosseteste’s De motu supercelestium and De motu corporali et luce, the latter being one of my favourite works authored by Grosseteste. Hosted by Faith Wallis at McGill University, the workshop was ultimately fantastic, undoubtedly a success. Not to mention the extraordinary food we had there at a series of astounding restaurants!
Quebec cuisine has quite a reputation…. and it deserves it! I also had a chance to try again the famous poutine. After my Toronto experience, I had no expectations, as that very first poutine I ate was horrible. Nonetheless, the real Quebec poutine I had in Montreal was like an inspiring and overwhelming dream made of gravy, cheese, French fries, and smoked meat. Fantastic!
Aesthetically, Montreal is such a beautiful city. Relaxed, European, and safe. A fusion of contemporary architecture and old (at least for that continent) buildings. Walking my way down to the St Lawrence river has been quite an experience. But it wasn’t enough. Between the end of the symposium and the beginning of another brilliant meeting (the McGill-Durham graduate conference to which some of the best graduate students of both universities participated—with a lovely intruder from Oxford), I did what I usually do when I’m in those huge American conglomerates of people and buildings we call metropolises: I walked. And I went to Little Italy (sorry, “la petite Italie”), Mile End, walking my way down through the Plateau down to the river. A tremendous experience, in which I also discovered that bagels are actually made in dedicated bakeries (maybe “bageleries”?) by real people. I also tried a fresh-made one: it was superb. (As always, I have also taken a lot of pictures and I now realise that I need to enrol on some sort of photography social platform. Otherwise, no one will ever see the actual results of my long walks through Europe and America!)
The spectre of Kalamazoo was looming, though. Kalamazoo was not a problem, it was the 14-hour-long drive from Montreal! A group of seven people from Durham (well, actually six, as there still was the lovely intruder from Oxford, but it was like as she was from Durham) locked into a car, even if a good one, for such a long time and without smoking? It’s not a joke: it happened! And I can proudly say that I survived it! Maybe, for the sake of this blog, I should say that it was a great fun and we had an amazing time while we were trapped in there. It would be a lie: it was so boring, notwithstanding many attempts at having fun. We made it to Kalamazoo, though, and that’s what’s important.
Kalamazoo. The place, the Zoo. Amazing, but too short. I wasn’t able to meet with all the people I wanted to meet. Nevertheless, new friendships have begun, old friends have been met, new collaborations have been established, no disease from the dorms has been contracted, and knowledge has been shared: that’s the spirit of Kalamazoo! The two panels on medieval science organised by OU were terrific and we got some very positive feedbacks. I have understood that blue margaritas are not my cup of tea and I had a splendid stimulating time there. I definitely look forward to going back to Kalamazoo next year.
Before flying back to Europe, I had two days in Chicago. I love that town. Architecturally speaking, no other city is like Chicago, not even New York can compete with such an outstanding aesthetic exquisiteness. I slept my nights there laying literally in front of five huge lightened letters (they were T-R-U-M-P and, believe me, it was a sort of Mordor-like experience: next time, I will think it twice before booking my hotel).
I met with a fantastic friend who gave me a tour of the University of Chicago, I walked a lot, and I finally tried a Chicago deep-dish pizza!! Yes, I did so! It was since 2015, when I was at Notre Dame, that I wanted to try one. Problem is that I went to a restaurant (Labriola: gorgeous!) two hours before taking my taxi to the airport, and I couldn’t imagine that a Chicago deep-dish pizza was that… large! After two slices, I felt I was going to die. With six more in front of me, I decided to do what an American would do: ask for boxes. That’s how I had got a real Chicago deep-dish pizza in Europe.
Revista Española de Filosofía Medieval has a new (and awesome!) editorial committee ready to write the next page in the history of this prestigious journal. Here’s the new Committee.