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Twists in the Reception of Aristotelian Psychology

Seminar and workshop within the framework of the programme ”Representation and Reality. Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Aristotelian Tradition”. This event is a joint venture with the Warburg Institute.

Venue: Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB

If you are interested in attending please contact David Bennett.

SEMINAR: De anima 3.6-8


Friday, 16 November 2018, 09:00-12:30


Free and open to all interested scholars and students. This special event, organised by the "Representation and Reality" programme of the University of Gothenburg in conjunction with the workshop “Twists in the Reception of Aristotelian Psychology” (16-17 November), will be a reading seminar on the Greek text of three chapters of Aristotle’s De anima. The seminar will be led by three specialists: Pavel Gregoric (Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb, and Representation and Reality, University of Gothenburg), Robert Roreitner (Charles University, Prague), and Klaus Corcilius (Tübingen University). Coffee will be served.

WORKSHOP: Twists in the Reception of Aristotelian Psychology


16-17 November, 2018. See the program below.


This special joint workshop (hosted by the Warburg Institute and organised by the “Representation and Reality” programme of the University of Gothenburg) addresses variations on the standard transmission of the major texts of Aristotle’s psychology—that is, De anima and Parva naturalia. These works played a formative role in the history of the philosophy of mind in the Greek, Arabic, and Latin traditions. We will consider new research on moments in which the reception of the Aristotelian material was disrupted, with decisive and interesting effects. In the Arabic tradition, we will look at the Arabic version of the Parva naturalia, which was significantly re-imagined by its adaptor in the 9th Century; the adaptor’s interventions influenced the course of Arabic philosophy up to the time of Ibn Rushd (d. 1198). Later philosophers, such as the Iranian master Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī (d. 1640), developed strategies for integrating aspects of the Aristotelian tradition along with Islamic antecedents. A remarkable instance of syncretism, this time involving the medical tradition and contemporary psychological theories, is preserved in the work of Qusṭā ibn Luqāʾ (d. 912), which had a substantial afterlife in Latin and Hebrew translations. Greek and Byzantine philosophers before and after the advent of Arabic philosophy introduced other variations which cross-pollinated with the Arabic, and subsequently the Latin tradition. The paraphrase of Themistius (d. 387) and the commentary of Blymmedes (d. 1272), both on Aristotle’s De anima, were two such sites of innovation.

Each paper in the workshop will focus on one or another of these divergences from the text of Aristotle, illustrating how philosophical theories develop and interact over more than a millennium of Eurasian intellectual history. The celebrated interdisciplinary heritage of the Warburg Institute, with its diverse array of experts in the historical, philosophical, and philological fields relevant to this inquiry, provides the ideal setting for this workshop, which has been organised by the members of “Representation and Reality,” a research project funded by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond in Sweden.


Friday, 16 November

14:00-15:00 Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute), Qusṭā ibn Luqāʾ on the soul, the spirit, and the mind: his treatises On the Difference between the Spirit and the Soul and On Amulets.

15:00-15:15 Break

15:15-16:15 Elisa Coda (Pisa), untitled

16:15-16:30 Break

16:30-17:30 Erika Gielen (KU Leuven), From Foolish Greeks to Right-minded Christians: Nicephorus Blemmydes and Joseph Racendytes on the Soul

17:30-18:30 Reception: please join us for a friendly symposium to toast our cordial hosts.

Saturday, 17 November

10:00-11:00 Rotraud Hansberger (LMU-Munich), untitled

11:00-11:15 Break

11:15-12:15 Sumeyye Parildar (Istanbul University), A Comparison of Sadrian psychology with the ancient discussions of the soul

12:45 Lunch*

* For speakers, invited participants, and members of the research programme.​

Page Manager: Andreas Ott|Last update: 10/22/2018

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