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Aristotelica Portugalensia. The Reception of Aristotle in Portugal until the XVIII Century

Since its earliest translations into Latin in the middle of the XII century, the works of Aristotle were at the origin of a decisive inflection in philosophical and scientific European thought. All through four centuries of either enthusiastic or polemical assimilation, largely achieved through philosophical commentaries, European philosophy was chiefly based on Aristotelianism (or rather, on a huge variety of different sorts of Aristotelianisms). Indeed, Aristotle became the philosopher by antonomasia. Nonetheless, despite the density of that assimilation, his theories gave often rise to further discussions, due either to the identification of methodological limitations in Aristotle’s philosophy or to the detection of problematic points in the solution advanced for certain physical or philosophical problems.

General Objectives

Analysis of the dissemination of Aristotle’s works and its influence in Portugal from the XII century on (inseparable from the history of the Aristotelianism’s reception in the rest of Europe) will provide:



Iberian Scholastic Philosophy at the Crossroads of Western Reason


The so-called second scholastic (16th-17th centuries) had in the Iberian Peninsula one of its means of greater expression and creativity. The universities of Coimbra, Alcalá and Salamanca stand out for having hosted some of the most important philosophers of the time. Surpassed by the history of thought and science, under the weight of the theories attracting the philosophers of the new modernity, they were neglected for a long time. The thought of authors such as Francisco Suárez, Luís de Molina, Pedro da Fonseca, the Coimbra Jesuits, among many others, have earned growing attention in fields such as logics, epistemology, metaphysics and political philosophy. Many studies and projects have tried to shed light over these authors and their institutional context or time. However, there is still plenty to be studied. Many authors, with vast work and remarkable importance in their time, continue to be ignored or only briefly mentioned. Immense manuscript collections are yet to be studied in several Portuguese Libraries, such as Porto, Braga, Coimbra, Lisboa. On the other hand, it has never been carried out the long term study of these authors, besides their isolated contribution to the history of philosophy, including them in a movement that begins with the foundation of the universities in the 13th century. These are some lacunae that this project aims to overcome from three thematic, yet articulated approaches.

Main areas

Three thematic axes, which were pivotal in 13th-17th Century philosophy, will be developed:
1) Metaphysics, beginning with the works by Suárez and John Poinsot and then analysing the works by their Peninsular antecedents, coord. by Paula Oliveira e Silva
2) Nature and the knowledge, paying special attention to the interconnections between physics, cosmology and epistemology, coord. by Manuel Lázaro Pulido;
3) Natural and positive law in the commentary traditions on Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics” V and on Aquina s “Summa Theologiae” Ia-IIae, qq. 90-97 (De legibus treatise), coord. by Lidia Lanza.

Activities and expected achievements

-- reading and analysis of the works of authors of the said period and on the fields defined in the project, with the discussion by the team in bi-monthly seminar
-- archive and library research to identify the manuscripts by or related to authors being studied
-- study of the manuscript and printed sources, as well of secondary literature
-- preparation of monographic studies (papers or books) on the subjects of the project
-- update of the research library (sources and studies) open to all those interested and to other projects
-- collaboration with the centres and unities that at the national and international levels focus on connected themes. The international consultants, due to their status and research activities, will play a pivotal role in establishing links with other institutions
-- edition of unpublished texts
-- bilingual editions of complete or selected philosophical texts (Molina, Fonseca, Poinsot, Suárez, etc.)
-- publication of specific work tools – dictionaries and lexicons – on the authors and the works produced at the time in Portugal and the main doctrines defended by them
-- cooperation with an international team (Brazil, Chile, Perou, Spain) on the transmission of Philosophy to Latin America, specially Brazil, in 16th-18th Century.

© 2022 Autores e Instituto de Filosofia / GFM-M&EMP.
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