After much work, the first meeting of the MeLO Seminar is going to be tomorrow. The reason why Christophe and I decided to create this seminar was to get together and talk medieval philosophy during these trying times. We could not foresee such enthusiasm and willingness to get involved. The resulting programme is very promising. And I look forward to starting the seminar tomorrow, with Dominic Dold’s fascinating discussion of the medieval intertwining of zoology and metaphysics.
After so many socially distanced months, we all hope that 2021 will bring something different (and better) than this tormented 2020. Quite in line with the hopes of a brighter (or at least more social) future, there is some news I shall give here.
Christophe Geudens and I have started planning something new and very promising for 2021: the MeLO Seminar! The acronym stands for “Medieval Logic and Ontology” Seminar. The plan is to bring together people from all over the world to discuss papers, ideas, and new interpretations of medieval theories from these two disciplines.Continue reading
I couldn’t resist. After all, it was my first time ever. And it is so close to here. Notwithstanding the bad weather and the pandemic, guided by two brave historians of philosophy (Jenny Pelletier and Nicolas Zeks), I have finally (yet shortly) visited Brussels! Further explorations are needed in the (hopefully near) future.
During this horrible pandemic, getting onto a train for a 29km ride to Brussels seemed like a real trip! Especially thinking that this year, for the first time in 36 years, I won’t be able to spend Christmas with my family in Tuscany.
At least, 2020 will be over in a few weeks.
This makes me think back to last December, when Alexander, Pedro, and I were writing the introduction to the new issue of Revista Española de Filosofía Medieval. And I – foreseeing a bright and sweet new year – suggested to joyfully wish “a special 2020 to everyone!”
As I have recently said to Alexander and Pedro, this year I won’t write a single word of the introduction to the December 2020 issue of Revista Española de Filosofía Medieval!!
Finally, 2020 is almost finished. It felt like a decade. Just thinking that January, when I was moving to Oxford for my research stay, was only eleven months ago, well, it just doesn’t seem right. In the months following the beginning of the pandemic many things have happened. Many more were supposed to happen (from the second Berlin workshop on matter to my trip to Asia), but they didn’t. And between the first lockdown and lockdown 2.0, I didn’t feel like it was the right time to give any updates. Needless to say, now I have to give many news at once – lots of good news, actually. I will do my best to be as concise as possible.
Alexander von Humboldt
Sometimes, one has to take life with a bit of Aristotle and admit that “totum et completum est quod habet principium et finem”. Started two years ago, my experience as Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow is complete and the fellowship over. In my life, I have never felt like this before. The Berlin years have given me so much in terms of research, creativity, friendship, and much more. Thinking of how my approach was when I moved there from Durham and how it is now, well, the comparison is impressive, at least to me. I will be forever grateful to Dominik Perler for his gorgeous guidance and remarkable patience during these past two years. And I will keep with me for the rest of my life a sweet and thankful memory of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
It is true what they say, that “once a Humboldtian, always a Humboldtian” – the Associazione Italiana Alexander von Humboldt will be my new home now. The spirit and example of Alexander von Humboldt will continue to inspire me and so many others in the world. Yet, something will be missed. It is the unparalleled sense of belonging to something truthfully unique and good in the widest meaning of this term. It is the memory of days spent between Bonn and Berlin with my Humboldtian friends, plans to explore Germany that never were concretised, chats with professors, researchers, and MPs while sharing some canapés in beautiful building in Mitte. Proudly and gratefully, I will keep these sweet memories with me for the rest of my life and taste them every now and then to counter the usual bitterness of academia.
A new adventure has started. I have left Berlin and moved to Leuven, where I am FWO Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of KU Leuven. Amazing, isn’t it? And in fact I am excited, delighted, and still struggling to believe that I am really here (also because the pandemic is having me working from home). Lots of new ideas and plans are currently been shaped – you will see. New promising collaborations shall be mingled with old ones into a boiling cauldron the likes of which have never been seen since Hermann of Carinthia’s. Above all, I am thrilled at the opportunity to work with scholars like Russell Friedman, Andrea Robiglio, Pieter d’Hoine, and Jan Opsomer – the best of the best!
The new project, The Shadow Within Nature: Epistemology and Ontology of Prime Matter in the Late Middle Ages (1250-1430), follows the outcomes of my Berlin project but with a different perspective. Ontology comes back at the centre of the stage. And with it, the trickiest of all hylomorphic problems: how can hylomorphism be applied to the study of nature and explain a plurality of natural phenomena and theoretical assumptions that seem to contradict it? Moving within the coordinates set by Pasnau and Maier – but sometimes daring to break them – I will try to disentangle matter from matter and element from element of this long history of ontological controversies.
The last big piece of information of this Autumn is very good news, too. Working in academia is often weird, especially during this pandemic. You do your research, write your articles, give your talks on Zoom. But you are so very often alone – even when you are not. I guess another specificity of non-tenured scholars is to wonder whether other scholars truly appreciate your work beside the good feedbacks one receives. This is why it has been unusually delightful for me to have been habilitated for associate professorship in history of philosophy by the Italian Ministry of Education! Terrific news, I know, and it means so much to me. Most importantly, I now feel like I do belong. Many will think that such formalities are not important, that it is the work we do that define us both as people and academics. And that being habilitated doesn’t give you a tenure. Both points are true, but they do not have any impact on the unique moment of being finally habilitated. It is a matter of recognition and acknowledgement, something of which I am deeply grateful and honoured.
I said above that I had two pieces of information. And I do. I have also been certified as assistant professor of philosophy by the Spanish Ministry of Education! Such a fantastic news, I am proud and flattered. Another demonstration that sacrifice and work are never in vain. I look forward to collaborating even more with my Iberian colleagues in the near future. And duly celebrate with them this good news and the others!
There would be much more to say: more news, ideas, and updates. There will be time for that, as I will try to update this section more often.
It took some time. But finally, Yael and I have sent the volume manuscript to Routledge! This is a special volume aimed at celebrating a very special person, Jeremiah Hackett, and his crucial contributions to the understanding of medieval philosophy. Not incidentally, the volume focuses mostly on Roger Bacon, the philosophical and scientific theories he elaborated, and the philosophical debates in which he took part.Continue reading
I have experimented with my laptop and made a very short video on my new project in Leuven. It’s an experiment (and an experience), but I am learning…
You can download here the handout of my talk at the conference “13th-Century English Franciscans” organised by Lydia Schumacher. The conference starts on 24 July 2020 and will last for a few weeks (with weekly sessions).Continue reading
After months of uncertainty (a secondary outcome of the pandemic), finally some splendid, fantastic news: I have been awarded a FWO senior research fellowship at KU Leuven! During the next three years I will have the much consequential opportunity to work on late medieval theories of matter (both ontological and epistemological) mentored by Russell Friedman!Continue reading
Throughout July and August 2020, Lydia Schumacher will lead a fantastic discussion on philosophical and theological aspects of 13th-century English Franciscanism. The programme looks amazing – this is going to be a fascinating Summer experience.Continue reading
My article of Artephius has just been published by Ambix:
Nicola Polloni, “A Matter of Philosophers and Spheres. Medieval Glosses on Artephius’s Key of Wisdom.” Ambix, 67/2 (2020): 135-153.Continue reading
Splendid reading group organised by the Roger Bacon Research Society. Starting on 1 May 2020 at 4.30 Berlin time, on Zoom. All are welcome!Continue reading
Organised by Nicola Polloni and Dominic Dold, the research reading group begins on 1 April 2020 and will meet biweekly on Zoom. We will read the four books of Samuel Alexander’s Space, Time, and Deity. Participants are supposed to read the texts (usually two chapters per meeting) before the biweekly session in which the texts will be discussed.Continue reading
Finally, the first copy of my book has arrived!
Due to the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, many aspects of our lives have been or are about to be affected. In this moment of grave concern, academia must do its part to contribute to the efforts put in place by governments all over the world to delay the spread of the virus. After much pondering, I have decided to do my part rescheduling, postponing, and cancelling most of the events I had planned for the forthcoming months.Continue reading
Here’s the video of the fantastic keynote lecture by Cecilia Trifogli at the workshop “Prime Matter: The Ontological Stakes of Physical Endurance” (HU Berlin, 28 Feb 2020).Continue reading
It has been exhausting, but so rewarding! The first Prime Matter Workshop has been an incredible success. Splendid talks, awesome speakers, brilliant discussions, and a lot of people attending.
Below, some photos taken throughout the day.
Can’t wait for the second Prime Matter Workshop, on 14 May 2020!
One week to go!Continue reading
Rosie, Tom, and I had a splendid research meeting today in Oxford. A great deal of new ideas and planning for the next months. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, you will see…
I will be based in Oxford for some time, visiting the Faculty of Philosophy and working with Cecilia Trifogli on theories of matter in the thirteenth century. This is going to be such a great time!!
Santa is on his way, the new year is coming, and it’s time for my annual output report. Here it is…
Gundissalinus on the Angelic Creation of the Human Soul: A Peculiar Example of Philosophical AppropriationContinue reading
The recordings of the second cycle of the medieval philosophical gatherings are finally available. Talks by Elena Baltuta (IR), Stephen Ogden (Catholic University of America), Joshua Mendelsohn (Loyola University Chicago), Tommaso Alpina (LMU Munich), and Sebastian Bender (HU Berlin).Continue reading
Organised by Vincenzo Carlotta and Katja Krause, an intriguing workshop on “Alchemy between Practices and Theories” is about to take place at the MPIWG – Berlin. Lots of fun ahead!Continue reading
A few changes in the “Medieval Gatherings” programme.Continue reading
My new article on Gundissalinus’s doctrine of the creation of human souls has just been published by Oriens.Continue reading
The Winter Semester 2019 has just started. And with it, a fresh new reading group, this time dedicated to exploring Nicholas of Autrecourt’s Universal Treatise (more here). Also the Medieval Gatherings have started again with Elena Baltuta’s talk on Kilwardby’s intentionality of pain (you can watch the video here). The semester couldn’t have started in a better way!
Here’s the CFP for the 2020 Winter issue of Revista Española de Filosofía Medieval.Continue reading
The programme of the second cycle of the Medieval Philosophical Gatherings is finally available. A lot of fascinating talks this semester, too.Continue reading
Terrific artistic time with Rosie Reed Gold at Tate Modern! Olafur Eliasson’s exhibition has been the most beautiful, captivating, metaphysical exhibit I have ever seen in my life. It is just unique!
My immense gratitude to Rosie for this splendid experience and her unparalleled artistic guidance! A lot of inspiration for new explorations of precarious ontologies with Rosie and the Extensions Project Group (https://extensionsofreality.com/) – more soon!
This Autumn could not have started in a better way! I have invited to give a lecture at the Center for the History of Philosophy and Science of Radboud University in Nijmegen. And from there, I have flown to Oxford (well, London and then train to Oxford) for a fantastic conference on the Summa Halensis organised by the marvellous and unique Lydia Schumacher.
Here’s the recording of Yehuda Halper’s intriguing opening lecture of the “Structuring Nature” Berlin Summer School.Continue reading
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 2020Continue reading
The recordings of this semester’s medieval philosophical gatherings are finally available. Talks by Lydia Schumacher (King’s College London), Yael Kedar (Tel Hai College), David Cory (Notre Dame), Thomas Valentin Harb (HU Berlin), Mattia Cipriani (FU Berlin), and Abel Aravena Zamora (Playa Ancha). Enjoy!Continue reading
Here’s the programme of “Matters Entangled”, the symposium Elena Baltuta and I have organised at HU Berlin. All are welcome to attend! This is going to be memorable…
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.Continue reading
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!Continue reading
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!
Here is the programme of the Aquinas and the Arabs International Working Group conference in Pisa (22-25 May 2019). This is going to be huge. And incredibly fun!Continue reading
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.