Medieval & Early Modern Philosophy


Principal Investigator: José Meirinhos.

The two Medieval & Early Modern Philosophy research groups focus their research mainly on texts of the Latin medieval philosophical tradition and the emergence of philosophy in the neo-Latin languages, particularly in the Portuguese language. We take the Middle Ages in its extended sense, from the end of Antiquity to the end of Scholasticism in the 18th century. Without losing the specificity of their research programs, the two groups work interconnectedly, some researchers being affiliated to both, as well as sharing activities and developing common projects.

This Thematic Line corresponds to the Gabinete de Filosofia Medieval, a research group founded in 1987 by Professor Maria Cândida Pacheco (1935-2020) and a small circle of then Medieval Philosophy Master students. The Gabinete was central in the creation of the Instituto de Filosofia as a research Unit in 1997.

Since 2007 the Medieval Philosophy thematic line groups moved to a new level of research organisation, more consistently grounded in external funded projects, consolidating its internationalization, the constitution of its research team and the cooperation with other IF’s groups.


As the study of manuscript and edited texts is a key characteristic of the research done and to undertake, the Thematic Line assembles in an integrated way:

1) Resources for research (specialised library, equipment, textual databases),

2) Organization of discussion meetings (informal seminaries, colloquia),

3) Production of research tools (data bases, catalogues of manuscripts, dictionaries),

4) Diffusion of research (journals, publications, website),

6) Post-graduation formation (Master degree and Doctoral program).

The TL has as concomitant aims:

a) To make available to researchers the necessary resources for the accomplishment both of their own projects and the projects of the two RG,

b) To observe high standards of quality and permanent updating of the research methodologies, submitting them to discussion,

c) To become a centre of attraction for foreign postgraduates,

d) To collaborate with similar groups, both nationally and internationally,

e) To engage in the discussion of recent research on Ancient Philosophy and Modern Philosophy,

f) To promote thematic dialogues with current discussions in Philosophy and the Humanities.

The research groups have been working on these questions and achieving innovative results, which have been recognized at an international level. Therefore, continuity will be given to the ongoing research, and other research fields will be opened.


Research will be consolidated through new grant and project applications focusing on the following questions:

1) the presence of Neoplatonic, Sceptic, Epicurean and Augustinian doctrines in medieval and early modern discussions of natural philosophy, particularly the commentaries and reception of Aristotle's De Anima, Parva naturalia, Physics, Metaphysics, Generation and Corruption. Of special interest are: a) the recovery of the problems discussed in De anima III, 9-13, an almost ignored segment in contemporary studies of this work which, in the Arab and the Latin Middle Ages, allowed for innovative explanations of the mind-body relationship in action, the role of desiring capacities in causing movement, the necessary order of the faculties of the soul and the disposition of the body as its support; b) the Coimbra and Évora's Aristotelian commentaries on De anima from the 16th century, and the development of new discussions on perception, knowledge, thought and will in the beginnings of Modern Philosophy.

2) a pluralistic and critical philosophical approach to medieval discussions in metaphysics, natural philosophy, logics, philosophical anthropology, epistemology, political theory and aesthetics, rejecting the homogenization of Medieval Philosophy through its reduction to the major authors canonized by 19th century Neo-Scholastics. For this approach, the following are crucial: a) the dialogue with current philosophical discussions on the same issues within Contemporary Philosophy RGs; b) the attention to the presence of philosophy in non-canonical sources such as literature, historiography or autobiographical reports; c) the critical approaches in Middle Ages and Early Modern era to questions of power and domination, law and rights, gender; d) the mediation of different philosophical traditions in the philosophical renewal of the 12-17th centuries (Peripatetic, Platonist, Scepticism, Epicureanism); e) the comprehension of the emergence of modern science since the 12th century, absorbing elements from the Greek, Jewish and Arab traditions.

Both MEMP groups are committed to ensure the continuity and the national and international projection of 3 book series, 3 journals and several databases available online. To improve research organization, the training of graduates and junior researchers, and staff mobility, MEMP/IF is engaging in a long-term collaboration agreement with specialized research units.

Current projects with external funding (2020):

  1. Biblioteca do Convento de São Salvador de Vilar de Frades (séc. XVI-XVIII) (2018-2020) - DRCN
  2. Da memória escrita à leitura do espaço: Pedro de Barcelos e a identidade cultural do Norte de Portugal (2018-2021) - FCT
  3. From Data to Wisdom (2018-2021) - FCT
  4. Vernacular Europe (2019-2020) - FCT


Internal projects underway (2020):
(some of these evolved from former externally funded projects)

  1. Arca. Textos e autores medievais portugueses
  2. Animal rationale mortale
  3. Iberian Scholastic Philosophy at the Crossroads of Western Reason: The Reception of Aristotle and the Transition to Modernity
  4. Imago mundi
  5. Petrus Hispanus: Critical Edition and Study of the Works
  6. Seminário Medieval de Literatura, Pensamento e Sociedade
  7. Sephardic Portuguese Authors


  1. Current & Concluded


  1. Mediaevalia. Textos e estudos
  2. Civitas Augustiniana
  3. Guarecer. Revista Eletrónica de estudos medievais

in international collaboration:

  1. Revista Española de Filosofía Medieval (Celia López executive Editor)
  2. Mediterranea. International Journal on the Transfer of Knowledge

Book series

  1. Imago Mundi. Filosofia em texto e tradução (Ed. Afrontamento, Porto)
  2. Textos e estudos de Filosofia Medieval (Húmus Ed., V.N. Famalicão)
  3. edition from 2005 to 2013: Textes et études du Moyen Âge (FIDEM / Brepols Publishers, Turnhout)