John Buridan, Quaestiones super octo libros Physicorum Aristotelis (secundum ultimam lecturam)

Libri I - II


John Buridan (d. ca. 1360) was one of the most talented and influential philosophers of the later Middle Ages. He spent his career as a master in the Arts Faculty at the University of Paris, producing commentaries and independent treatises on logic, metaphysics, natural philosophy, and ethics. His Questions Commentary on the eight books of Aristotle's Physics is the most important witness to Buridan's teachings in the field of natural philosophy. The commentary was widely read during the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance. This volume presents the first critical edition of books I & II of the final redaction of Buridan's Questions Commentary on the Physics. The critical edition of the Latin text is accompanied by a detailed guide to the contents of Buridan's questions.
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Biographical Note

Paul J.J.M. Bakker (Ph.D. 1999) is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy at Radboud University. His research focuses on the commentary tradition on Aristotle's works on natural philosophy, from the late Middle Ages to the seventeenth century.

Michiel Streijger (Ph.D. 2008) is a researcher at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Munich. He is working on an edition of book II of Robert Cowton's commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard.

Edith D. Sylla (Ph.D. 1971) is Professor Emerita at North Carolina State University (Raleigh, North Carolina). She works on the history of mathematics, physics, and their interrelations from the late Middle Ages to the early eighteenth century.

Johannes M.M.H. Thijssen (Ph.D. 1988) is Professor of History of Philosophy at Radboud University.

Review Quote

"In a superb introduction by Johannes Thijssen and a lengthy and wonderfully edifying study guide by Edith Sylla, close readers will have before them several research questions and projects that could occupy them for years. [...] For students of medieval natural philosophy, the edition will generate further questions and discussions and contribute to a more nuanced picture of fourteenth-century philosophy than that provided by some earlier and still often-cited studies distorted by anachronistic comparisons and by sectarian philosophical or theological agendas. Interested readers surely look forward to the completion of the edition." - André Goddu (Stonehill College), Speculum 92/4 (October 2017), pp. 1164-1166.

"The edition reviewed here is a very important contribution to a better, more precise acquaintance, based on textual evidence, with one of the more philosophically lively periods of medieval thought. The various lectiones of the manuscripts and the list of works cited by Buridan, together with the opening “Guide to the Text,” render very significant and effective support to our understanding of an ancient, truly important contribution to the history of science." - Stefano Caroti (University of Parma), Isis, Volume 108, Number 1, March 2017, pp. 179-180.

Table of contents

Preface xi
Johannes M.M.H. Thijssen

Introduction xiii
Johannes M.M.H. Thijssen

Guide to the Text xliii
Edith D. Sylla

1 Introduction xliii
1.1 The Sources of Buridan’s Question Statements lxvii
1.2 Authors of Questions on Books I and II of the Physics Related to Buridan’s Questions lxx
2 The Questions on Book I lxxvii
2.1 Questions I.1–3 lxxvii
2.2 Physics, I, 1: Questions I.4–I.7 lxxxvi
2.3 Physics, I, 2: Questions I.8–I.10 c
2.4 Physics, I, 4: Questions I.11–I.13 cxiii
2.5 Physics, I, 4–6: Questions I.14–16 cxvi
2.6 Questions I.17–I.19 cxx
2.7 Physics, I, 9: Questions I.20–I.24 cxxviii
3 The Questions on Book II cxxxvii
3.1 Preliminaries and Physics, II, 1: Questions II.1–II.4 cxxxviii
3.2 Question II.5 cliii
3.3 Physics, II, 2: Question II.6 clvi
3.4 Physics, II, 3: Questions II.7–II.8 clxii
3.5 Physics, II, 4–6: Questions II.9–II.12 clxvii
3.6 Question II.13 clxxiv

Bibliography clxxvi

Iohannis Buridani Quaestiones super octo libros Physicorum Aristotelis (secundum ultimam lecturam)
Libri I–II
Conspectus siglorum et compendiorum 2

Liber I
Prologus 3
Tabula quaestionum primi libri Physicorum 4
I.1. Utrum scientia naturalis sit scientia de omnibus rebus 8
I.2. Utrum totalis scientiae naturalis debeat assignari subiectum unum proprium 14
I.3. Utrum ens mobile sit subiectum proprium totalis scientiae naturalis vel quid aliud 22
I.4. Utrum in omni scientia ex cognitione principiorum, causarum et elementorum contingat alia scire et intelligere, scilicet principiata, causata et elementata 30
I.5. Utrum ad perfecte sciendum aliquem effectum oporteat scire omnes causas eius 48
I.6. Utrum sint eadem notiora nobis et naturae 55
I.7. Utrum universalia sint nobis notiora singularibus 59
I.8. Utrum omnis res extensive et situaliter habens partem extra partem sit magnitudo 79
I.9. Utrum totum sit suae partes 93
I.10. Utrum Socrates sit hodie idem quod ipse fuit heri, posito quod hodie additum est sibi aliquid ex nutrimento et conversum in eius substantiam, vel posito quod hodie est aliqua pars ab eo remota, ut si sibi amputata est manus 107
I.11. Utrum infinitum secundum quod infinitum sit ignotum 112
I.12. Utrum omnia entia naturalia sint determinata ad maximum 118
I.13. Utrum entia naturalia determinata sint ad minimum 137
I.14. Utrum cuiuslibet transmutationis naturalis principia intrinseca sint contraria 143
I.15. Utrum necesse sit omne quod fit fieri ex subiecto praesupposito 151
I.16. Utrum sint tria principia rerum naturalium, non plura nec pauciora 161
I.17. Utrum generatio substantialis sit forma substantialis vel materia vel compositum vel aliquod accidens eis additum 169
I.18. Utrum generare sit generans vel generatio vel quid aliud 174
I.19. Utrum illud quod in generatione substantiali generatur sit materia vel forma vel compositum 196
I.20. Utrum materia prima sit ens 201
I.21. Utrum forma, antequam generetur, habeat aliquod esse substantiale in materia distinctum ab ipsa materia 210
I.22. Utrum materia sit potentia ad formam generandam 217
I.23. Utrum privatio sit materia privata 225
I.24. Utrum materia appetat formam 231

Liber II
Tabula quaestionum secundi libri Physicorum 241
II.1. Utrum res artificiales sint distinctae a rebus naturalibus 243
II.2. Utrum ista differentia quam assignat Aristoteles inter naturalia et artificialia sit conveniens, scilicet quod naturalia inquantum naturalia habent in se ipsis principium sui motus et status, artificialia autem inquantum artificialia nullum habent impetum suae mutationis innatum 249
II.3. Utrum figura sit res distincta a re figurata 256
II.4. Utrum definitio naturae sit bona qua dicitur: ‘natura est principium et causa movendi et quiescendi eius in quo est primum per se et non secundum accidens’ 264
II.5. Utrum in istis substantiis materialibus formae substantiales sint principaliter activae suorum motuum et suarum operationum vel magis qualitativae dispositiones illarum substantiarum 271
II.6. Utrum naturalis differat a mathematico per hoc quod naturalis definit per motum et mathematicus sine motu 284
II.7. Utrum finis sit causa 294
II.8. Utrum pater sit causa filii 302
II.9. Utrum definitio fortunae sit bona in qua dicitur: ‘fortuna est causa per accidens secundum propositum extra semper et frequenter eorum quae propter hoc sunt’ 308
II.10. Utrum casus et fortuna sint causae agentes 316
II.11. Utrum casus et fortuna reperiantur in contingentibus ad utrumlibet vel solum in contingentibus raro vel ut in paucioribus 322
II.12. Utrum natura producens monstrum intendat monstrum 330
II.13. Utrum in operationibus naturalibus necessitas proveniat ex fine vel ex materia 337

Index locorum 353
Index codicum manu scriptorum 358
Index nominum 360


All interested in the history of philosophy and science in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and anyone concerned with the reception of Aristotle's works in natural philosophy.