How are we to understand colour, sounds, odours, and flavours? Do they have a material being in the objects as Vincent of Beauvais explains in his Speculum naturale? Or are they just ‘accidents’ that come along with the objects as Bartholomew the Englishman proposes in his De proprietatibus rerum? This paper investigates how these two different answers about the materiality of the objects of sensation, result in a different order of the objects of the world in these encyclopaedias and in a different conception of the world itself.
Modern neuroscience is based on matter. However, humans experience themselves as individuals and persons with a particular body, not as material brains or bodies. How independent is our mind or spirit from matter? Are there other minds than those of humans, and is it possible that they exist outside material bodies? The same sort of questions can be found in De Anima of the 12th-century Cistercian Aelred of Rievaulx. In my paper I will try to shed some light on the material aspects of 12th-century Cistercian spiritual psychology, and on the spiritual elements of 21st-century (neuro)psychology.
Thanks to the rediscovery of Aristotle in the Latin West, since the 13th century, the idea that matter is a positive principle of the constitution of single beings has acquired a new impetus. Therefore, between the 13th and 14th centuries, one of the most-widely debated questions concerned the role of matter in individuation. In our paper, we would like to highlight how the Franciscan scholars of the 14th century, stimulated by the need to measure themselves with the solutions of Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus, were able to prompt a very lively debate on this subject. After a brief presentation of the positions of Aquinas and Scotus, we would like to show how different Franciscan authors have defended the idea that matter is an essential principle able to individualize physical entities.