2.00 Riccardo Strobino - From Themistius to Al-Fārābī (and beyond): an excursus on Avicenna’s sources in his commentary on the Posterior Analytics
3.00 Stephen Clark - Gregory Palamas: Nominalist or NeoPlatonist?
4.00 Coffee break
4:30 Sydney Penner - On Polyadic Accidents
5:30 General discussion about the format of next meeting and the development of the group's website.
6.00 End of meeting
Abstracts of each of the papers are given below.
There will be an inexpensive light lunch available from 1.00. It is not necessary to register for this event and all are welcome. We should be grateful, however, if you could let us know whether you would like to have lunch, so that we can plan for the numbers (it will be simplest to ask you to pay at the time, in cash or by cheque). If you would like to do so, please contact Anna Marmodoro.
Riccardo Strobino - From Themistius to Al-Fārābī (and beyond): an excursus on Avicenna’s sources in his commentary on the Posterior Analytics
I shall discuss the relationship between the two known Arabic translations of Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics (by Abū Bishr Mattā and by an anonymous translator) and Avicenna’s Kitāb al-Burhān along with his debt to earlier Arabic sources (Al-Fārābī) and the ancient commentary tradition (Themistius and Philoponus). I shall also make some comments on the Renaissance Latin translations of Averroes’ Middle and Long Commentary on Aristotle’s work, as they are interestingly, albeit indirectly, related to the history of its transmission from Greek into Arabic, through the mediation of Hebrew.
Stephen Clark - Gregory Palamas: Nominalist or NeoPlatonist?
A preliminary discussion of an argument of Palamas (1296-1359) in 150 Chapters: Palamas here seems to argue that only particulars (only particular human beings, for example) have substantive, active existence, and that 'the universal "man"', as it 'does not think, does not hold opinions, does not see' (and so forth), entirely lacks 'actual subsistence' ($ 136). This would seem to be at odds with other orthodox propositions. I propose instead that his argument concludes that 'Man' is not an abstract universal, but is instead a substantial form, active in many individuals. In this he closely resembles the Muslim philosopher Ibn Arabi, though it is unlikely - judging from Palamas' own account of his Turkish captivity - that there was any real philosophical interaction between the two traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam. Both traditions have Neoplatonic roots.
Sydney Penner - On Polyadic Accidents
Medieval philosophers commonly assume that accidents cannot have more than one subject of inherence. Aquinas, for example, when he considers the view that a relation is like a road between the relata, dismisses the view on grounds that it is impossible 'because one accident is not in two subjects'. The claim is not obviously true and would face significant opposition were it presented to a group of contemporary analytic philosophers. So why was the claim so widely accepted by medieval philosophers? The claim, unfortunately, was used as a premise a great deal more often than defended as a conclusion, but in this talk I want to consider some reasons that might have led medieval philosophers to accept the claim.