The Virtual Medieval Colloquium 3

09 apr 2020 18:00 - 19:30

Weekly online seminar series organized by Robert Pasnau, professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder, current Paris IAS Fellow, with the support of the Paris IAS.


Introduction by Robert Pasnau

Olivi on Personhood, by Dominik Perler (HU Berlin)


Following Boethius, most medieval philosophers defined a person as an individual substance of a rational nature. However, in the late thirteenth century Peter John Olivi presented a new definition, characterizing a person as an entity that “fully returns to itself and abides in itself or that perfectly reflects upon itself.” In my paper I intend to shed light on this new definition. I will first examine Olivi’s account of reflection, analyzing it against the background of his general theory of cognition. I will then look at the role he assigns to the will in the process of reflection, paying particular attention to the function of the will as a self-moving power. My aim is to show that Olivi did not simply give up the Boethian definition. He rather reinterpreted it by giving a new account of rationality: a person is an individual substance of a volitional nature.

No registration needed. You can watch live and participate in the Q & A following this Zoom link:

Voluntarism and the Unmaking of the Medieval World
01 September 2019 - 30 June 2020
09 Apr 2020 19:30
Robert Pasnau
Seminars and Summerschools