Topics in Medieval Philosophy
Back to the Future. Time, Being and Duration in Late-Antique and Medieval Thought. The course aims to retrace:
- the confluence between the Aristotelian doctrine of time and specific elements of the Greek and Latin Neoplatonic tradition;
- the main transformations that Aristotle’s concept of time underwent in the Middle Ages, with particular attention to the Latin Scholastic debates of the 13th and 14th centuries;
- the reinterpretation of the peculiar Aristotelian asymmetry between the inalterability and determinacy of the past and the indeterminacy of the future;
- the development, in Latin Scholasticism, of new models of duration unrelated to the Aristotelian tradition. These models were elaborated mainly (but not exclusively) in the field of angelology; yet they were soon used to make up for the apparent lack, in Aristotle, of an appropriate measure for the duration of the substantial being of ordinary sublunary things.
The course’s primary objective is thus to show how the medieval debates on time, through the overlap between physical instances and theological needs, try to overcome some limits of the Aristotelian approach, such as the difference of ontological status between the parts of time and the lack of a notion able to express the simple duration of being.