Browse results

Giuseppe Capriati

Abstract

Francisco Suárez’s thought has often been interpreted as paving the way for early modern philosophy, and causation is one of the themes in which his name is regularly associated with modern ideas. This is, however, an extrinsic relation – despite our lamentably poor knowledge of early modern scholasticism, Suárez’s doctrines can only be properly understood in relation to their proximate scholastic context. This article attempts a reevaluation of the importance of this context through an analysis of the definition of ‘cause’ in early modern scholasticism, focusing on the influence of Jesuit authors such as Toledo, Perera, and Fonseca on Suárez’s famous definition of ‘cause’, often considered as an anticipation of Descartes’ reduction of causality to efficiency. As it turns out, the proximate context of this definition provides not only the debate to which Suárez responds, but also the common conception of causality that Suárez tries to define more properly than his predecessors.

Wojciech Wciórka

Abstract

Early twelfth-century logicians invoked past-tensed statements with future-oriented contents to undermine the assumption that every proposition ‘about the past’ is determinate. In the second half of the century, the notion of future-dependence was used to restrict the scope of necessity per accidens (e.g., in the Ars Meliduna). At some point, this idea began to be applied in theology to solve puzzles surrounding predestination, prescience, prophecy, and faith. In the mid-1160s, Magister Udo quotes some thinkers who insisted that the principle of the necessity of the past should exclude dicta that ‘relate to the future’, such as that he has been predestined. Peter of Poitiers adopted this ‘Ockhamist’ strategy around 1170. We find similar accounts in Simon of Tournai and Alan of Lille, who invoked it in other contexts as well. By the time of Praepositinus of Cremona, Hubert of Pirovano, and Stephen Langton, the restricted principle became something of a common view at Paris.

Harald Berger

Abstract

One of the riddles of the history of late medieval philosophy is the identity of a certain Hugo who is frequently quoted in manuscripts as well as in early prints. This article offers solutions to the relevant problems, identifying the work to which these quotations refer. One of the manuscripts presents the author’s name as “Hugo de Reyss,” Reyss being identified with Rees in North-Rhine/Westphalia. A passage in that work links the author to the University of Paris. Among the Hugos documented at the University of Paris at the relevant time, Hugo de Hervorst is the most promising candidate. Hugo of Hervorst and his family had close relations to Rees. In sum, a chain of arguments leads to the identification of Hugo de Reyss as Hugo de Hervorst, whose academic and ecclesiastical careers can thus be outlined. Documented for the first time in 1372, he died in 1399.

Irene Binini

Abstract

This article investigates Abelard’s defence of the compatibility between universal bivalence and the existence of future contingent events. It first considers the standard strategy put forward by twelfth-century commentators to solve Aristotle’s dilemma in De Interpretatione 9, which fundamentally relies on Boethius’ distinction between definite and indefinite truth values. Abelard’s own position on the dilemma is then introduced, focusing on a specific deterministic argument considered in his logical works that aims to demonstrate that, given the determinacy of present-tense propositions such as ‘“that Socrates will eat tomorrow” is true’, future contingent events such as that Socrates will eat tomorrow are determinate in advance. In addition to presenting Abelard’s reply to the argument, the article offers an analysis of his notions of contingency, determinacy, and future events, and a comparison between Abelard’s position and other twelfth-century discussions on future contingents.

Bruce S. Bennett and Moletlanyi Tshipa

Abstract

The Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) is a theory in physics which proposes that, rather than quantum-level events being resolved randomly as according to the Copenhagen Interpretation, the universe constantly divides into different versions or worlds. All physically possible worlds occur, though some outcomes are more likely than others, and therefore all possible histories exist. This paper explores some implications of this for history, especially concerning causation. Unlike counterfactuals, which concern different starting conditions, MWI concerns different outcomes of the same starting conditions. It is argued that analysis of causation needs to take into account the divergence of outcomes and the possibility that we inhabit a less probable world. Another implication of MWI is convergent history: for any given world there will be similar worlds which are the result of different pasts which are, however, more or less probable. MWI can assist in thinking about historical causation and indicates the importance of probabilistic causation.

Georg Gangl

Abstract

In this paper I argue that historiography employs causal narrative explanations just as other historical sciences such as evolutionary biology or paleontology do. There is a logic of explanation common to all these sciences that centers on causal explanation of unique and unrepeatable events. The explanandum of historiography can further be understood as mechanism in the sense developed by Stuart Glennan and others in recent years. However, causal explanation is not the only way historiography relates to the past. Arthur Danto has given us the theoretical tools to differentiate between causal narratives and conceptual colligations, with both playing a pivotal role in historiography even though Danto himself has not expressed that thought clearly.

Alison M. Downham Moore

Abstract

This paper reflects on the challenges of writing long conceptual histories of sexual medicine, drawing on the approaches of Michel Foucault and of Reinhart Koselleck. Foucault’s statements about nineteenth-century rupture considered alongside his later-life emphasis on long conceptual continuities implied something similar to Koselleck’s own accommodation of different kinds of historical inheritances expressed as multiple ‘temporal layers.’ The layering model in the history of concepts may be useful for complicating the historical periodizations commonly invoked by historians of sexuality, overcoming historiographic temptations to reduce complex cultural and intellectual phenomena to a unified Zeitgeist. The paper also shows that a haunting reference to ‘concepts’ among scholars of the long history of sexual medicine indicates the emergence of a de facto methodology of conceptual history, albeit one in need of further refinement. It is proposed that reading Koselleck alongside Foucault provides a useful starting-point for precisely this kind of theoretical development.

Shlomo Sela

Abstract

Abraham Ibn Ezra (ca. 1089–ca. 1161) was born in Muslim Spain, but his extensive scientific corpus, dealing mainly with astrology and astronomy, was composed in Latin Europe and written almost exclusively in Hebrew. Recent work on Reshit Ḥokhmah (Beginning of Wisdom), an introduction to astrology that is considered to be the zenith of Ibn Ezra’s astrological work, revealed that at least one-fourth of this text consists of translations or close paraphrases from identifiable and available Arabic astrological and astronomical texts. Relying on these findings, this paper identifies the Arabic texts Ibn Ezra drew on, shows where their Hebrew translations were incorporated into Reshit Ḥokhmah, and then scrutinizes his translation methods.