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Author: Antoine Côté


The paper examines Simplicius's doctrine of propensities (epitedeioteis) in his commentary on Aristotle's Categories and follows its application by the late thirteenth century theologian and philosopher James of Viterbo to problems relating to the causes of volition, intellection and natural change. Although he uses Aristotelian terminology and means his doctrine to conflict minimally with those of Aristotle, James's doctrine of propensities really constitutes an attempt to provide a technically rigorous dressing to his Augustinian and Boethian convictions. Central to James's procedure is his rejection, following Henry of Ghent, of the principle that “everything that is moved is moved by another”. James uses Simplicius' doctrine of propensities as a means of extending the rejection of that principle, which Henry had limited to the case of the will, to cognitive operations and natural change. The result is a theory of cognition and volition that sees the soul as the principal cause of its own acts, and a theory of natural change that minimizes the causal impact of external agents.

In: Vivarium
In: A Companion to James of Viterbo
In: A Companion to James of Viterbo
In: A Companion to James of Viterbo
Ten leading scholars team up to produce the first book-length treatment of the philosophical thought of James of Viterbo, one of the key thinkers at Paris in the late thirteenth century. The book examines all major areas of James’s philosophical thought, exploring his connections with other important masters of the time and highlighting his originality in the context of late medieval philosophy.

Contributors are: Antoine Côté, Stephen D. Dumont, R. W. Dyson, Mark D. Gossiaux, Mark Henninger, Thomas Osborne Jr., Martin Pickavé, Eric L. Saak, Jean-Luc Solère, and Gianpiero Tavolaro.

Variation in activity budgets among individuals of different age-sex classes and reproductive status may lead to decreases in behavioural synchrony (i.e., individuals performing the same behaviour at the same time in the same group) in social species. Here, we assessed the costs of behavioural synchrony in terms of time allocated to feeding behaviour among individuals of different age-sex classes and reproductive status in the kiang (Equus kiang), a poorly known wild equid that inhabits the Tibetan Plateau. Our study was conducted in Eastern Ladakh (India), during summer and fall. Our results showed that groups were highly synchronized, and that individuals in groups were particularly synchronized when feeding. Despite a slight sexual dimorphism, males and females had similar activity budgets. Males in groups, however, spent less time feeding than solitary males, and females in groups with foals spent less time feeding and more time standing than females in groups without foals. We suggest that group formation in males and the presence of foals for females incur behavioural costs by lowering their time spent feeding. Because these costs occur at a predictable time of the year, it could be profitable for adult kiangs not to form permanent groups year-round. Individuals with divergent needs might benefit from the loose social system observed in kiangs, which could be a key feature of their adaptation to a highly seasonal environment.

In: Behaviour