News of the Week

  • I previously announced the major grant on Human Abilities that Dominik Perler and Barbara Vetter won in Berlin this past year. Currently posted, as part of that project, is a PhD position in the history of philosophy scheduled to begin this October. Details here. The application deadline is August 8, 2020.
  • The SMRP is sponsoring a session on Giordano Bruno at the Renaissance Society of America meeting in Dublin (April 7-10, 2021, deo volente). The cfp deadline is this coming Monday (July 27, 2020). Details here.
  • As it happens, you can learn more about Giordano Bruno this coming Tuesday (July 28, 2020) at the next installment of the Lumen Christi series of online lectures. Valentina Zaffino will be speaking on Giordano Bruno and the Poetry of the Cosmos.
  • This Friday begins the weekly series of online lectures on 13th-Century English Franciscans that Lydia Schumacher has organized. Speaking this week are Nicola Polloni, Simon Kopf, and Neil Lewis. Details here.

This Week’s News

  • The Università della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano) is offering a new MA program, in English, focusing on a mix of analytic philosophy and the history of philosophy. Some quite distinguished scholars are involved, including, in our field, John Marenbon and Pasquale Porro. They expect to hold lectures on campus this fall. For application instructions go here. Some scholarship support is available and although some deadlines have passed, I am told interested students may be able to get an extension to that deadline.
  • I’ve recently discovered the website of the Red Latinoamericana de Filosofía Medieval, which contains a great deal of useful information about their activities, members, et cetera.
  • The University of South Bohemia, in beautiful České Budějovice, hopes to host a conference on February 11-13, 2021, on Cognitive Issues in the Long Scotist Tradition. The Cfp deadline is the end of July 2020. Let’s all hope the Scotists will be drinking their fill of Budweiser in February.
  • Peter Adamson’s latest column in Philosophy Now argues for the value of studying minor figures in the history of philosophy.

Virtual Colloquium 14: Graduate-Student Take Over

This Thursday will be the last virtual medieval colloquium of the summer. It seems fitting to turn things over to the virtual dissertation workshop group, which has been meeting in parallel for the last several months. So I have invited a couple of members of that group to make their presentation to the larger colloquium. Our speakers will be:

  • Dominic Dold (TU Berlin / Max Planck Institute), “Albert the Great on the Subject of Zoology.” The slides for this presentation are here.
  • Philip-Neri Reese (Notre Dame), “Aquinas on the Genus of Intellectual Virtue.” The handout for this presentation is here.

When: Thursday, July 2, 2020, 18:00 in Berlin, 12 noon in the eastern United States.

A recording is available here.

Sponsored by the Paris Institute of Advanced Studies.

Edward Grant (1926-2020)

Edward Grant, the distinguished historian of science and longtime professor at Indiana University, died earlier this week. Information about Professor Grant’s career, and a guide to the large archive of his papers at Indiana University, is available here. (Thanks to Rega Wood for announcing this information at today’s virtual colloquium.)

This Week’s News

Virtual Colloquium 13: Matter: First and Final

This week’s virtual medieval colloquium will be a roundtable discussion on the history of metaphysics, focusing on theories of matter. The panelists will be Neil Lewis (Georgetown), Nicola Polloni (HU Berlin), and Rega Wood (Indiana), who has organized the session.

When: Thursday, June 25, 2020, 18:00 in Berlin, 12 noon in the eastern USA.

A recording of the talk is available here. A pdf of the slides is available here, and an additional handout with texts is here.

Sponsored, as always, by the Paris Institute of Advanced Studies.


Virtual Colloquium 12: Theories of Paradox in the Middle Ages

This week’s virtual medieval colloquium will be a roundtable discussion on the history of logic.

The panelists will be Sara Uckelman (Durham University), Stephen Read (University of St Andrews), and David Sanson (Illinois State University)

When: Thursday, June 18, 2020, 5pm in the UK; 11am in Illinois.

A recording of the event is available here. The slides are available here.

Abstract: The modern word ‘paradox’ covers many types of medieval logical puzzles, including two types that the medieval Latin logicians called “sophismata” and “insolubilia.”  Insolubilia are the logical paradoxes — semantic, such as the Liar (‘I am lying’ or ‘Every proposition is false’) and epistemic, such as the Knower (‘You do not know this proposition’) — while sophismata are ambiguous sentences where two seemingly equally good analyses can be provided leading to opposite conclusions about the truth of the original sentence.  We will rehearse the re-discovery of Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations in the Latin West in the 12th century and consider how sophisms and insolubles were deployed in logical analysis. Solutions by restrictio and cassatio, popular up to the time of Burley and Ockham, were replaced by the radically new solution due to Bradwardine and the subsequent variants it inspired in the 14th century, and others opposed to its basic idea. Finally, we will look at the independent development of solutions to the Liar in the Arabic tradition, starting with fragmentary evidence of discussion of the paradox in the 5th/10th century, then looking at several solutions proposed in the 7th/13th century by figures broadly associated with Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī’s “Marāgha School”, and finally turning to the extended debate on the Liar at the end of the 9th/15th century, between Jalāl al-Dīn al-Dawānī and Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Dashtakī.

Sponsored by the Paris Institute of Advanced Studies.

Virtual Colloquium 11: The Influence of Alexander of Aphrodisias

This week’s virtual colloquium will be a roundtable discussion of the influence of Alexander of Aphrodisias on al-Farabi, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), and Aquinas.

The panelists (all members of the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group (AAIWG)) will be:

When: Thursday, June 11, 2020, 11am in Milwaukee & Mexico City, 18:00 in Paris & Berlin

A recording of the event is available here.  The handouts and slides are available here.

Sponsored by the Paris Institute of Advanced Studies.

Peter Dronke (1934-2020)

I’ve just discovered that Peter Dronke died in April. He spent most of his career at Cambridge, and although his focus of research was weighted toward literature, he also did important work on Boethius, Eriugena, Abelard & Heloise, and a 1984 book on Women Writers of the Middle Ages. There’s a nice obituary in the Guardian.

[No Virtual Colloquium this week, but there are great things coming later in June.]

Various Online Opportunities

  • Jeffrey Brower (Purdue) is giving an online talk tomorrow (May 26, 2020) at 15:30 in Berlin, to the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. For information about how to participate, contact
  • The Lumen Christi Institute is sponsoring an online panel discussion on Christians in Times of Catastrophe: Augustine’s City of God, featuring Jennifer Frey (Univ. South Carolina), Russell Hittinger (Lumen Christi Institute), and Michael Sherwin (Fribourg). That’s on June 9, 2020.
  • Lydia Schumacher‘s (King’s College London) conference on thirteenth-century Franciscans has moved online, and will run over a series of 4 Fridays in late July and early August. For details see here.
  • There’s a one-week online Latin paleography course being offered this July through the Central European University, for a reasonable tuition. It’s offered at both a beginning and an intermediate level, and there’s also two levels of Greek paleography available. July 6-10, 2020.
  • Scott Williams’ newly-published collection of papers on Disability in Medieval Christian Philosophy and Theology (Routledge, 2020), is available as a free ebook until June 11th, here.
  • There is — believe it or not — a Roger Bacon Research Society. Perhaps there has always been such a society, since 1292, and it has only recently emerged from its long occultation. At any rate, note that they sponsor an online reading group.
  • Definitely not in occultation is Christina Van Dyke (Calvin College), who has been making philosophical videos since March for her online courses. The chef d’oeuvre is perhaps part two of the Julian of Norwich series. Take-home quote: “She doesn’t need to be a Zombie queen to be interesting.”