The Debate over the Nature of Motion: John Buridan, Nicole Oresme and Albert of Saxony. With an Edition of John Buridan's Quaestiones super libros Physicorum, secundum ultimam lecturam, Book III, q. 7

In: Early Science and Medicine
Johannes Thijssen Faculty of Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9103, NL-6500 HD Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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The so-called 'Buridan school' at the University of Paris has obtained a considerable fame in the history of science. Pierre Duhem had made some bold claims about the achievements by John Buridan and his 'pupils' Nicole Oresme and Albert of Saxony in the field of medieval dynamics. Although generally, Duhem's views are no longer accepted, the idea of a 'Buridan school' has survived. This idea is, however, misleading. John Buridan, Nicole Oresme and Albert of Saxony should rather be viewed as members of an intellectual network. While interested in similar philosophical themes and understanding each other's conceptual language, they also disagreed about numerous topics. One case in point is the nature of motion, as discussed in their respective Questions on the Physics. Despite the common features of the language in which they discuss motion, the three thinkers defend different positions. This article compares the three sets of Questions on the Physics and presents a critical edition of Buridan's "ultima lectura", Book III, q. 7.

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