"Averroes' Theory of Demonstration in Sixteenth-Century Italy"
Kontaktadresse an der Universität Würzburg:
Institut für Philosophie
Residenz - Südflügel
Erstbetreuer: Prof. Dr. Dag Nikolaus Hasse
Klasse in der Graduiertenschule: "Mittelalter und Frühre Neuzeit"
Promotion in der Graduiertenschule ab WS 2018/2019.
Averroes’ (d. 1198) Commentaries on Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics have not received much attention among recent scholars, even though to Averroes himself the Posterior Analytics was of great interest. After all, it is the only work of the Organon he dedicated a Long Commentary (šarḥ) and a Middle Commentary (talḫīṣ) to. Being first printed in 1523, the Latin translation of the Long Commentary gave rise to a lively discussion about the standards of scientific method among professors of logic in sixteenth-century Italy. Although some scholars demanded that Averroes’ commentaries on Aristotle should be rejected on the grounds that he did not read Greek, but had to rely on Arabic translations, others, particularly in Padua and Bologna, still valued Averroes as an authority on demonstration.
Among the focal points of interest are questions such as how many species of demonstration there are, how they are related, and how the first principles of demonstration are acquired. In view of the fact that the last chapter of book II of the Posterior Analytics suggests that Aristotle himself was torn between a rationalistic and an empiricist account of the acquisition of first principles, it is all the more remarkable that in his Great Commentary Averroes decisively settles on an empiricist interpretation arguing that first principles are ultimately rooted in sense perception. This idea is found and further developed, for instance, in the work of Girolamo Balduino, professor of logic in sixteenth-century Padua.
In my dissertation I aim to give a systematic account of Averroes’ theory of demonstration as presented in his Middle and Long Commentary on Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics as well as his Epitome on Aristotle’s Organon and his Logical Questions based on both the original Arabic texts and Latin translations, also considering the Hebrew versions. Then I will explore how Averroes’ theory was received, used, and developed by scholars of logic in sixteenth-century Italy.