Book Series Rencontres de Philosophie Médiévale, vol. 26

A Question of Life and Death. Living and Dying in Medieval Philosophy

Acts of the XXIII Annual Colloquium of the Société Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale, Leuven, 11–12 October 2018

Jean-Michel Counet (ed)

  • Pages: xx + 222 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:1 col.
  • Language(s):English, French
  • Publication Year:2022

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60059-8
  • Hardback
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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60060-4
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The volume explores several issues of the reception of the Aristotelian philosophy of life in the Latin philosophy of the Middle Ages.


Jean-Michel Counet is full professor of medieval philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain. His work focuses on Latin neoplatonism, in particular Nicholas of Cusa, Duns Scotus, Master Eckhart.


Living and dying are essential concepts in Aristotelian natural philosophy and psychology. It is then no surprise that when the libri naturales were translated into Latin from the twelfth century onwards, this gave birth to an extensive interpretative tradition in the Latin West in which life and death as conceived by Aristotle were theorized and reflected upon, for example in the numerous commentaries of the De Anima but also of the Parva Naturalia. Yet the medieval inquiry into living and dying is not limited to natural philosophy nor the Aristotelian tradition but can also be found in ethics, metaphysics, theology, medicine and others domains.  Many topics are addressed in the volume: radical moisture and the possibility of increasing lifespan, suicide, essence of life, contrast between life of the body and life of the soul, future life, and so on. The volume is also a hommage to Pieter De Leemans, an eminent specialist of the Latin translations of Aristotle’s books on natural philosophy, who was the intitiator of this scientific project.


Jean-Michel Counet, Introduction

Violeta Cervera Novo, La tripartition de la philosophie (naturalis, rationalis, moralis) et la triple dimension de la vie de l’âme : considérations sur la notion de vita animae dans quelques commentaires anonymes sur l’Éthique à Nicomaque (ca 1230-1240)

Valeria Buffon, Happiness in Life and Death. Discussions about Nichomachean Ethics 1.10 in some thirteenth century commentaries

Tilke Nelis, Shortening Life and Death: The Early Reception of the Translatio Vetus of Aristotle’s De Longitudine et Brevitate Vitae in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Tanner 116

Julien Lambinet, Human Nature as quiddam commune corruptibilitati et incorruptibilitati according to Alexander of Hales

Chiara Crisciani, Physicians and Radical Moisture: vita longa?

Marek Gensler, Monica Mansfeld, The Mechanism for Sustaining Life in Walter Burley’s Parva Naturalia Commentaries

Chris Schabel, Monica Brînzei, Better off Dead: The Latitude Better off Human Misery in the Oxford Replicationes of the Dominican Robert Holcot and the Parisian Principia of the Cistercians Jean de Mirecourt and Pierre Ceffons

Silvia Negri, About Movement and Freedom: Henry of Ghent on Life in His Summa

Jean-Michel Counet, The intelligibility of the Soul to Iself and the Principle Quidquid recipitur in alio recipitur in eo per modum recipientis