Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Expositions and Disputations on Aristotle's Natural Philosophy at Late Medieval Universities of Paris, Oxford, and Toulouse: A Semi-Revisionist Proposal


Philosophy Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Social and Behavioral Sciences


Medivalists have suggested that bishop Tempier's 1277Condemnation of 219 articles on philosophy and theology was triggered by the unrest of conservative theologians over controversial and even heretic expositions, commentaries, and disputations of Aristotle's natural philosophy by the Faculty of Arts at the University of Paris. More recently, it has been argued that this Condemnation is the culmination of the conflict between theologians and churchmen, or that it was oly meant to target students from the Arts Faculty. I argue that an adequate account of this period in the history of philosophy has to be more dynamic and sociological. In order to develop this account, I compare Condemnations by bishops and Regulations of the University of Paris, which were issued between 1210 and 1270. Then, I draw upon the substance of some of the articles of the 1277 Condemnation and explain why they were theologically and philosophically problematic (especially Aristotle's conceptions fo time, motion, necessity, and teleology of nature); the deabtes over Latin Aristotelianism as they became embodied in the institutional structure of Medieval Universities; the curriculum and the teaching methodologies of the Faculty of Arts at the Universities of Paris, Oxford, and Toulouse; the competition between masters of arts and masters of theology; who was teaching what of Aristotle's libri naturalis at the Faculty of Arts; the positions of those teachers with regards to Aristotle's Greco-Arabic heritage of translators and commentators; the religious and social affiliations of both masters and students; and the relations between the University statutes and student power. The resulting picture is a weave of claims, debates, professional and disciplinary boundaries, and national and local differences, all of which are a testament to the chellenges faced by masters of Arts and Tehology in assimilating Latin Aristotelianism and in articulating it with an evolving hierarchical and curricular structure of Late Medieval Universities.

Conference Name

1st Iberian Symposium on Greek Philosophy: Aristotle and Aristotelianism

Conference Location

Lisbon, Portugal

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