Revision and Perversion of Aristotelian Psychology

Revision and Perversion of Aristotelian Psychology
16 November 2018, 1.45pm - 17 November 2018, 1.00pm
Conference / Symposium
Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB

Organised by “Representation and Reality: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Aristotelian Tradition” (University of Gothenburg) and the Warburg Institute.

A special reading seminar on Aristotle, De anima 3.6-8 will take place before this event - please note you must register separately for this. You can view full information and book your place here. 

This special joint workshop / conference 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 ninth 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.  Finally, we will turn to the modern reception of Aristotle, with a paper on Brentano (d. 1917).

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 centuries 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 in cooperation with the members of “Representation and Reality,” a research project funded by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond in Sweden.


Friday, 16 November

1345-1400        Welcome

                        Introduction: Christina Thomsen Thörnqvist (director, Representation and Reality)

1400-1445        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

1445-1545        Elisa Coda (Pisa)
Some non-Aristotelian features in Themistius’ In De Anima

1545-1615        Break

1615-1715        Hamid Taieb (University of Salzburg)
                       Brentano’s Aristotelian Account of the Classification of the Senses

1715-1800        Reception: please join us for a friendly symposium to toast our cordial hosts.

Saturday, 17 November

0945-1045        Erika Gielen (KU Leuven)
From Foolish Greeks to Right-minded Christians: Nicephorus Blemmydes and Joseph Racendytes on the Soul

1045-1100        Break

1100-1200        Rotraud Hansberger (LMU-Munich)
Ibn Rushd and the Arabic version of De memoria

1200-1300         Sümeyye Parıldar (Istanbul University)
A Comparison of the Psychology of Mulla Sadra with the Ancient Discussions of the Soul


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