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Naturae. Natural Kinds in the Teaching of Peter Abelard and His Rivals, c. 1090-1160

English title Naturae. Natural Kinds in the Teaching of Peter Abelard and His Rivals, c. 1090-1160
Applicant Tarlazzi Caterina
Number 174107
Funding scheme Ambizione
Research institution Département de Philosophie Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.10.2017 - 30.09.2021
Approved amount 443'274.00
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Keywords (9)

Realism; Fourteenth-Century Philosophy; Problem of Universals; Peter Abelard; Twelfth-Century Philosophy; Natural Kinds; Manuscripts; Genera; Species

Lay Summary (Italian)

Lead
Il progetto studia le teorie sulla natura di generi e specie che furono sviluppate nel XII secolo nelle scuole del Nord della Francia, in particolare all’epoca di Pietro Abelardo.
Lay summary

Scopo del progetto è studiare le posizioni realiste (cioè quelle teorie che affermano che generi e specie sono delle cose, ‘res’ in Latino) tra c. 1090 e c. 1160 utilizzando non solo fonti edite, ma anche un vasto insieme di fonti manoscritte sinora pressoché interamente trascurate e conservate in varie biblioteche europee. A questo fine, si intende stilare un catalogo delle posizioni realiste sviluppate all’epoca, e dei più di 80 argomenti che criticano o sostengono il realismo negli scritti del periodo. In secondo luogo, ci si propone di confrontare tali posizioni realiste con due concetti della filosofia di Abelardo che, pur essendo quest’ultimo un avversario del realismo, sono particolarmente vicini alle tesi dei suoi avversari: i concetti di ‘status’ (utilizzato in semantica) e di ‘natura’ (utilizzato in logica modale). Inoltre, si cercherà di confrontare il realismo del XII secolo con alcune posizioni realiste più tardive, sostenute nel tardo XIII e nel XIV secolo da, ad esempio, Duns Scoto, Walter Burley, John Wyclif. Infine, il realismo del XII secolo può essere comparato con alcuni sviluppi delle filosofia contemporanea sui natural kinds, come il new essentialism di Brian Ellis.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 12.09.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Clarenbald von Arras
(2021), Clarenbald von Arras, Schwabe Verlag, Basel, 544-554.
Collectio-Theories of Universals in the Time of Peter Abelard and Boethius’s Infinite Regress Argument Against Multiple Genus
TarlazziCaterina, Collectio-Theories of Universals in the Time of Peter Abelard and Boethius’s Infinite Regress Argument Against Multiple Genus, in Amerini Fabrizio, Binini Irene (ed.), Edizioni della Normale, Pisa.
Review of Catherine König-Pralong, Médiévisme philosophique et raison moderne. De Pierre Bayle à Ernest Renan Paris, Vrin 2016 (Conférences Pierre Abélard)
TarlazziCaterina, Review of Catherine König-Pralong, Médiévisme philosophique et raison moderne. De Pierre Bayle à Ernest Renan Paris, Vrin 2016 (Conférences Pierre Abélard), in Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie, 65/1.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Ce que disent les propositions. Dictum et eventus chez Abélard. Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
La logique des modistes. Sémantique, noétique et ontologie dans (et autour de) l'oeuvre de Radulphus Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Semaino. Differential Archeology of the Linguistic Sign Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Philosophy of Mind and Semantics in Peter Abelard and His Contemporaries Talk given at a conference Soli nudi puri. The intellectus of Porphyry’s questionnaire in the time of Peter Abelard 16.06.2021 Geneva (online event), Switzerland Tarlazzi Caterina;
Journée d'étude pour Alain de Libera Talk given at a conference Interview to Alain de Libera 09.05.2019 Paris, Collège de France, France Tarlazzi Caterina;
2nd Parma Workshop on Medieval Logic and Metaphysics Talk given at a conference Abelardian Non-Things 06.12.2018 Parma, Italy Tarlazzi Caterina;
12th-century Informal Seminar Talk given at a conference Peter Abelard and Status. A Comparison with the Glosulae in Priscianum Maiorem. 04.12.2018 Parma, Italy Tarlazzi Caterina;
Colloque annuel de l’Institut d’Études Médiévales “Pierre Abélard. Génie multiforme” Talk given at a conference Pierre Abélard et les non-choses. 30.11.2018 Paris, France Tarlazzi Caterina;
International Meeting “Stephen Langton and Twelfth-Century Philosophy”: Talk given at a conference Unpublished Isagoge Commentary P17: Three Reasons Why It’s an Interesting Text 23.10.2018 University of Warsaw, Poland Tarlazzi Caterina;
Eventus in the Semantics and Metaphysics of Peter Abelard Talk given at a conference Strategies for non-things 24.05.2018 Fondation Hardt, Genève, Switzerland Tarlazzi Caterina;
Exploring Twelfth-Century Philosophy Talk given at a conference An Anoymous Commentary on Porphyry’s Isagoge (P17) 10.04.2018 University of Copenhagen, Denmark Tarlazzi Caterina;
Logic in the Carolingian Age: Glosses, Diagrams and Manuscripts Talk given at a conference A Special Sort of ‘Gloss’: Diagrams on Porphyry’s Isagoge in 9th- and 10th-Century Manuscripts 23.11.2017 University of Vienna, Austria Tarlazzi Caterina;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Abélard et ses lecteurs modernes. Du génie solitaire à la dynamique du groupe des écoles 16.05.2019 Université de Genève, Switzerland
Logical Texts from the Time of Peter Abelard: A Workshop 26.05.2018 Fondation Hardt, Genève, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Lecture on the occasion of receiving the Leszek Kołakowski Honorary Fellowship. The 12th-century Debate over Universals: What It Is, And Is Not, About Talk 22.10.2018 University of Warsaw, Poland Tarlazzi Caterina;
Guest Lecture for undergraduate and graduate students: "Pietro Abelardo, le strategie per le non-cose e la causa dell'imposizione del nome" Talk 16.05.2018 Sapienza. Università di Roma, Italy Tarlazzi Caterina;
Guest lecture of undergraduate students: "Pierre Abélard et les stratégies pour non-choses" Talk 21.12.2017 Université de Genève, Switzerland Tarlazzi Caterina;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Che cos'è il dibattito sugli universali all'epoca di Pietro Abelardo? Swiss Portal for Philosophy Italian-speaking Switzerland 2020

Awards

Title Year
Awarded a "Rita Levi Montalcini" fellowship (tenured position) by the Italian Ministry of Education and Research (MIUR) 2019
Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale (ASN) alle funzioni di Professore Associato in Storia della Filosofia Medievale 2018
Leszek Kołakowski Honorary Fellowship 2018

Abstract

This project is concerned with one of the most fascinating and enduring problems in philosophy, the “problem of universals”. The problem of universals has been defined as the “one over many problem”, addressing “how numerically different particulars can nevertheless be identical in nature, all be of the same ‘type’”. The project is also about one of the most sophisticated periods of medieval philosophy: the Latin twelfth century. This was a period of renaissance, especially in Northern France, where cathedral schools expanded, providing the basis for the development of the University of Paris and for university education more generally. My plan is to investigate natural kinds in the Latin tradition, in the critical period c.1090-1160, on the basis of published and - more importantly - unpublished sources that have been thus far neglected. My reasons for wanting to study this particular topic arise from detecting an interesting paradox about it. On the one hand, the period c.1090-1160 in the Latin tradition has been recognised as a crucial phase in the history of the debate over universals since at least the nineteenth century. On the other hand, it has also remained relatively neglected. A substantial number of relevant sources are found only in manuscripts scattered around Europe and have never been published. The views of Peter Abelard’s opponents - theories classified (in the twelfth century) as forms of realism - have been particularly neglected by scholarship, which has tended to focus on Abelard’s version of nominalism. Similarly neglected has been the relation between Abelard’s own views and realism. While Abelard is well known for criticising various sorts of realism, his concepts of status (in semantics) and natura (in modal logic) bear striking - and unexamined -resemblances to universal universal entities: that is, to universals as they are conceived by his realist opponents. In order to solve this paradox, and to throw new light on natural kinds in the Latin tradition in the twelfth century, the project has three main objectives. First, it will enable the systematic cataloguing and analytic study of realism in 1090?1160 (of which there are at least three forms) in all published and unpublished sources (also providing the edition of relevant unpublished passages). Second, it will analyse all the arguments and counterarguments challenging or supporting realism (of which there are more than eighty). Third, it will identify and assess the distinctive features of twelfth-century realism by comparing it to Abelard’s account of status and natura, to fourteenth-century realism (by especially Duns Scotus, Pseudo-Richard of Campsall, Richard Brinkley Walter Burley, and John Wyclif), and to contemporary realism over natural kinds. These three objectives will be reached in two ways. The first is in-depth study (comprising a heuristic phase, followed by an analytical phase) of published and unpublished Isagoge, Categories and De divisione commentaries, as well as independent treatises on genera and species from c.1090-1160. The second is exchange with experts, via specialised workshops in years one and two, and an international conference in year three. This will allow for difficult and dubious points to be clarified, thus ensuring the achievement of the highest quality for the project outcomes (a monograph in English, at least four articles in peer-reviewed international journals and a volume of conference proceedings).
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