Panel at the 2023 International Medieval Congress. Leeds (UK), 3-6 July 2023. Sponsor: Global Perspectives on the History of Natural Philosophy (GPHNP).

According to medieval Aristotelianism, knowledge starts from the senses and evolves through a chain of cognitive processes. Through perception, humans can access the world, make claims about its nature, and ponder about its unperceivable structures. This panel delves into peculiar types of perceptions and perceptual puzzles in medieval epistemology. The first paper discusses the kind of perceptions we have in dreams and delusional dreams (e.g., dreamless nights, nightmares, sleepwalking), which challenges the boundaries between fiction and reality. The second paper expands on the use of fringe perceptive cases (e.g., listening to silence, seeing darkness) to conceive ontological principles that cannot be seen or touched, such as prime matter. Finally, the third paper expands on the medieval understanding of intentionality by questioning the nature of the “species” considered as a case-study to explore the intricate relations among what is physical, spiritual, and intentional in the Middle Ages.

Grégory Clesse
Véronique Decaix

Yael Kedar
Nicola Polloni

Véronique Decaix, “Stuff, as Dreams Are Made On”: Medieval Philosophers on Delusional Dreams

Nicola Polloni, The Sound of Silence: Using Confused Perceptions to Conceive Metaphysical Principles

Yael Kedar, Natural, Intentional, Physical or Spiritual? The Being of ‘Species’ and the Fluctuating Categories in Medieval Thought

Panel Chair: Grégory Clesse