Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul


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THE RENAISSANCE VIEW OF THE RENAISSANCE

In , he succeeded professor Nicolas Biesius and obtained a doctorate in Gemma died around in an epidemic of the plague, to which a third of the population at Leuven also succumbed. His epitaph consists of two elegiac couplets in Latin , punning on lapis "stone, precious stone, tombstone" and Gemma "precious stone, gem". He was survived by two sons: Raphael, who entered the priesthood, and Philip, who followed family tradition as a medical doctor. Gemma edited his father's posthumous work De astrolabo catholica In , he began publishing his own work in the annual series Ephemerides meteorologicae , printed by Joannes Withagen.

The Ephemerides is the earliest known astrological work from the Low Countries to carry an official notice of approval from the Roman Catholic Church. Gemma moved away from judicial astrology and renounced astrological predictions about political events, and seems to have gradually confined himself to predictions about astronomical phenomena and meteorological astrology. His predictions for , for example, provided detailed information on every lunar phase , and most planetary aspects and phases of fixed stars in relation to the sun, with a thoroughness that surpassed the predictions of his contemporaries.

Gemma attempted to formulate a universal philosophy that brought together inferiors and celestials, nature, soul and intellect, numbers, ideas and external objects. In the three volumes De arte cyclognomica , he synthesized the teachings of Hippocrates , Plato , Galen , and Aristotle by a method perhaps derived from Lullius. Conrad et al. Publication Date: The Western Medical Tradition: by W. Bynum, et al. The 'Hippocratic' corpus : content and context by Elizabeth M. Craik Publication Date: Medical humanism and natural philosophy : Renaissance debates on matter, life, and the soul by Hiro Hirai Publication Date: Gunnoe Editor Publication Date: But, other than Avicenna, Thomas argues that God is the proper subject of a different science, the principles of which are given in revelation: theology Summa theol.

There were three principal positions on the issue in the Latin West Zimmermann : Albertus and Thomas make God a subject of metaphysics only as cause of the subject; a second group, among them Roger Bacon and Giles of Rome, holds that God is one of several subjects of metaphysics; a third group argues that God is part of the subject of metaphysics.

Scotus develops his own standpoint against the authorities of Avicenna, Averroes and Henry of Ghent. He agrees with Avicenna that being as being is the subject, but he interprets the notion of being as including all being, be it material or immaterial, thus including God. The notion of being hence assumes a generality that allows for God being included in the subject of metaphysics Zimmermann , — In chapter I. It was due to Avicenna that the primum cognitum , the first object of knowledge became a central topic of medieval Latin metaphysics.

The question of the primum cognitum was variously answered. There cannot be an infinite regress, neither in the order of demonstration, nor in the order of definition, Thomas argues. It is what is first grasped by the mind, and it is unrestrictedly universal. It is specific for Thomas, however, that the order of definition and of demonstration are not on the same level.

Cornelius Gemma

Avicenna's theory of primary concepts was an important source for the theory of transcendental concepts, which scholastic philosophers developed in the thirteenth century, taking their cue from Aristotle, Avicenna and the Dionysian tradition Aertsen ; Aertsen ; Pini The essence-existence distinction was used by Avicenna in several metaphysical contexts, i. The following presentation focuses on the context of universals. Avicenna's core idea was to differentiate between two components of universals: essence and universality. In some of his writings, Avicenna emphasizes that there is universality only if the essence is found in several objects in the external world Marmura , Essence can be considered either in itself or with respect to its existence in the soul or in the particular things.

Universality and particularity are accidents of essence, which in itself is neither universal nor particular. The universal, according to Thomas, is a natura communis , which has existence only in the intellect. Individuals are essences individuated by matter with quantitative dimensions, but only at the time of their origin; later individuation is due to the form. In later writings, Thomas develops his concept of essence and existence so that existence is that which actualizes essence Summa theol. An influential defender of the real distinction between essence and existence was Giles of Rome.

This argument was voiced against the real distinction by Siger of Brabant and Godfrey of Fontaines Wippel , but it originally comes from Averroes, who flatly rejects Avicenna's distinction in his Long Commentary on the Metaphysics IV. While some authors take the extreme position that there is only a mental distinction between essence and existence, Henry of Ghent develops a modified version of Avicenna's theory.

He distinguishes between essence in itself and as existing, that is, existing in the mind or in the external world.


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The esse existentiae , in contrast, is the essence's actual existence. Henry thus develops a theory of how essences exist prior to their actual existence in the mind or in the world, enlarging on a brief and tentative reference in Avicenna's Metaphysics I. Duns Scotus is also inspired by the Avicennian idea that the common nature natura communis , as Scotus calls it, is neither truly universal nor truly particular in itself and that it is universal only as an object of the intellect.

The influence of Arabic metaphysics is much more extensive than these brief references to a few well-known thinkers suggest. The entire universe proceeds from the first cause. The principles first created, however, are not the intelligences, as in Avicenna's metaphysics, but the material and formal principles of the things Jolivet , — The anonymous author of The Book of First and Second Causes Liber de causis primis et secundis , which dates from the turn of the thirteenth century, does not adopt the distinction between necessary and possible beings, but describes the process of emanation in strongly Avicennian terms: From the first cause issues a first created being, an intellect.

From this intellect, in turn, emanates a series of intelligences, the lowest of which is the active intellect. Emanation happens in triads: From an intelligence emanates, in virtue of its intellectual activity, the form of a celestial sphere, the body of a sphere, and another intelligence ch. The anonymous author also draws on the Book of Causes see the beginning of section 6 above , for instance when describing the hierarchy of intelligences as a decrease in power and unity ch.

William of Auvergne d. Thomas Aquinas adopts from Avicenna the description of God as the necessary being, whose essence is its own existence Summa contra gentiles I. The proof is much coloured by Avicennian metaphysics, but its direct source is Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed II. Thomas, however, rejects the Avicennian theory of emanation. The creation of the world is not a necessary process, and it does not occur through intermediaries, that is, intelligences or angels.

He also rejects Avicenna's theory of a separate active intellect as the giver of the forms of the sublunar world and as the ontological place of the intelligibles, a theory against which Thomas advances epistemological arguments in the first place Summa contra gentiles II.

The Nature of Faith: A Conversation on Science and Religion

Albertus Magnus, in contrast, tacitly adopts much of the dator formarum theory in several of his writings, even though he often voices his criticism of it Hasse The attraction of Avicenna's position is evident in the work of Siger of Brabant. In some of his writings, Siger teaches that God as the first being creates only one being immediately, the first immaterial substance, from which emanate the other intelligences, the celestial spheres and finally the sublunar world, in an eternal and necessary process.

The necessity is not universal, however, but finds its limits in the contingency and in the free will which exists in the sublunar world De necessitate et contingentia causarum ; Van Steenberghen , Duns Scotus, in contrast, is very critical of Avicenna's theory of necessary causation through the first cause. He advances several reasons against it, the most important being that there can only be contingency in the world if the first cause does not act by necessity Ordinatio I d.

Several theses on the first cause and the intelligences which are inspired by Avicenna are condemned by the Parisian bishop in , among them: that God is the first necessary cause of the first intelligence and of the celestial movements art. Avicenna's theory of the first cause nevertheless continued to influence the scholastic discussion. This is true, for instance, of the proof for the existence of God, which had been cited by Thomas Aquinas.

The and condemnations were also directed against another theory based on Arabic sources: astrological determinism art. The condemnations do not testify to the influence of Arabic philosophers proper: Avicenna was critical of astrology for epistemological reasons and Averroes embedded astrological doctrines in Peripatetic mainstream theories about the influence of the stars. Rather, the condemnations indicate that Arabic astrologers such as Albumasar and Alcabitius were very influential in the Latin West already in the thireenth century. Nevertheless, Arabic philosophers, via their teaching on the intellect, exerted an important influence on the border area between ethics and psychology, and on the discussion of human happiness in particular.

They also share an epistemological optimism that for specifically gifted people, which they described as philosophers or philosopher-prophets, a perfect conjunction is possible in this life. Albertus Magnus's theory of happiness is much influenced by these Arabic theories. Only in this stage, a human being truly becomes a human being. Thomas Aquinas disagrees with the epistemological premisses and the ethical conclusion of this position: Since human knowledge is bound to the senses, knowledge of the immaterial substances is not possible in this life, and neither is perfect human happiness Summa theol.

Ia IIae q. In , several philosophical theses concerning human happiness and the good life were condemned: that happiness is to be had in this life and not in another art.


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These articles were apparently directed at masters of arts at the university of Paris, among them Siger of Brabant and Boethius of Dacia. As we know from fragments of Siger's treatise On Happiness De felicitate , he embraces Averroes' thesis that all intellects are made blessed through the conjunction with the active intellect. In Siger's interpretation, human beings in such a state think God by an intellection which is God himself.

There are many indications that Siger was convinced that the knowledge of the separate substances and thus the attaining of human happiness is possible in this life Steel , — Boethius of Dacia is also convinced that human happiness can be reached in this life, which is a happiness proportioned to human capacities, whereas the highest kind of happiness as such is reserved to the afterlife in his treatise De summo bono.

Locke médecin. Manuscrits sur l’art médical - Bibliographie

Boethius appears to be inspired by Arabic theories of intellectual ascension, but does not endorse a theory of conjunction, as does Siger. His conviction that the philosopher's life is the only true life echoes the very self-confident and elitist stance taken by the major Arabic philosophers.

Works by Hiro Hirai

Transmission 2. Division of the Sciences 3. Logic 4.

Natural Philosophy 4. Psychology 5. Metaphysics 6.

Research Areas

Transmission Arabic Philosophy was known in the Latin West through translations, and, to a small degree, through personal contacts between Christians and Muslims, as in the case of Frederick II Hohenstaufen, who was directly acquainted with a number of Muslim scholars. Logic The Arabic influence in logic is thinner than in other disciplines apart from ethics , because only a few works of Arabic logic were translated into Latin.

Natural Philosophy Natural philosophy is the field with the greatest number of Arabic-Latin translations. Psychology In Latin psychology, the influence of Arabic works is particularly strong and lasted well into the sixteenth century. Bibliography Aertsen, J. Aertsen, J. Aertsen and A. Speer, eds, Was ist Philosophie im Mittelalter? Akasoy and W. Raven, eds, Islamic Thought in the Middle Ages.

Akasoy, A.

Similar authors to follow

Bertolacci, A. Honnefelder, H. Bullido del Barrio, eds, Via Alberti. Crossley and C. Hasse and A. Akasoy and G.

Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul
Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul
Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul
Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul
Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul
Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul
Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy. Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life and the Soul

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