The Ontology of Change in 13th and 14th Century Thought: Physical and Theological Perspectives
Department of Philosophy, KU Leuven
On the basis of Aristotle’s writings on natural philosophy and the commentary tradition, thinkers of the 13th and 14th century vigorously debated how to understand the ontology of change. For instance, they debated whether change was reducible to a succession of states, or whether it constituted a sui generis entity. They also debated whether self-change was possible, or if all change required the real distinction of mover and moved.
Despite the strong presence of typically Aristotelian problems medieval reflection on change was not restricted to the exegesis of the Philosopher’s work. The theological issues brought along questions of their own. The theological doctrine of justification gave rise to debates about qualitative changes that do not occupy a time-span. Moreover, the belief that God can increase the habit of charity sparked a lively debate about the possibility of a quantitative approach to qualitative change.
The aim of the conference is to examine the ontological aspects of accounts of change and related issues in 13th and 14th thought. We want to explore what medieval thinkers think change is, what types of changes there are; and we want to explore if (and how) Aristotelian as well as theological perspectives influenced one another.
We welcome submissions addressing any from the following non-exhaustive list of questions:
– Is change a successive or a permanent entity?
– How do 13th and 14th century thinkers read Aristotle’s definition of ‘change’ according to which change is an actuality of what is potential qua such?
– Is self-motion possible? If so, how? And is it restricted to living beings or not? How about immaterial, i.e. intellectual or volitive, self-motion?
– What is the relation of change to time? Do all changes require time? How about substantial changes?
– Can a change like theological justification be made sense of in the existing Aristotelian physical framework?
– How does the problem of intension and remission affect the Aristotelian ontological division between qualities and quantities?
Please send a max. 500 word abstract with author details to
Deadline for receipt of abstracts: January 31, 2015
Informal inquiries: Luca Gili Luca.Gili@hiw.kuleuven.be; Can Laurens Loewe CanLaurens.Loewe@hiw.kuleuven.be
Organizers: Luca Gili, Can Laurens Loewe
Invited speakers: J. Biard (Tours) and J. L. Solère (Boston)