Marginal Epistemologies of Matter:
Medieval Strategies, Limits, and Knowledge of the Prime Substrate
Annual Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group Spring Conference, Pisa 22-25 May 2019
This paper explores some relevant strategies adopted by medieval authors in order to supersede the intrinsic limitations on prime matter’s knowability as implied by the “otherness” of its peculiar ontological status. In particular, I shall focus on how medieval authors have engaged with problematic passages from (and hermeneutics of) Aristotle’s Metaphysics Ζ, 10 and I, 8; Physics Α, 7; and Plato’s Timaeus, 52b. Examination of relevant cases will show a fundamental tension in place between the scanty conditions of knowability of prime matter and the pivotal role this notion was meant to play in both natural philosophy and metaphysics.
“Et hoc dicit expresse Toletanus”:
Shadows of Gundissalinus in the Thirteenth-Century Philosophical Debate
International Congress The Multi-ethnic Borderlands of Medieval Toledo: New Directions. Toledo (ES), June 5-7, 2019
A translator from Arabic into Latin and an interesting philosopher, Dominicus Gundissalinus (c. 1125 – post 1190) played a pivotal role in renovating central aspects of medieval philosophy. Through his translations, authors like Avicenna and Ibn Gabirol were made available to the Latin audience, providing valuable lenses through which Aristotle’s metaphysics and natural philosophy could be read and understood. At the same time, Gundissalinus’s original philosophical works have disseminated throughout the Central and Later Middle Ages important strategies of doctrinal appropriation of Arabic philosophy—as well as relevant theoretical innovations and peculiar doctrines. My paper explores the intricate history of how Gundissalinus’s thought was received in first decades after his death. In particular, I will expand on the silence apparently surrounding Gundissalinus’s name whereas his works were used, and his theories developed by relevant thirteenth-century thinkers.
Patterns of Causality, Matter, Light, and the Divine
International Medieval Congress 2019, University of Leeds, 1-4 July 2019.