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Home > Archives > Previous years: Seminars > Seminars 2021-2022: archives > Science and Philosophy from Ancient to Modern Age 2021-2022

Seminar of the Centre CHSPAM

Science and Philosophy from Ancient to Modern Age 2021-2022

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SCHEDULE 2022-2023 Université Paris Cité, Building Condorcet,
4 rue Elsa Morante, 75013 Paris (map)

10/13 Notion of ma’nâ (3) –The term ma’nâ in the Arabic tradition,
between kalâm, falsafa and grammar
M. Rogasch,
L. Tardy
11/17 The question of pre-eternal science in the Hebrew philosophical tradition S. Di Donato 454A
12/08 Errare et perseverare. Errors and corrections at late Middle Ages: astronomy, medicine, mathematics V. Decaix,
S. Serra

Coordination : Silvia Di Donato (CNRS, SPHere)

Thursday October 13, 2022

The concept of ma‘nā (intention) in the Arabic tradition –between kalâm, falsafa, and grammar (III)

Organisation :

Miriam ROGASCH (Paris 1, & Universität zu Köln) & Lucie TARDY (Paris 1)

Université Paris Cité, Room Mondrian, 646A, 6th fl., Condorcet Building, 4, rue Elsa Morante, 75013 Paris (map)

Morning – Chair: Cristina Cerami (CNRS)

  • 9:30am Opening Remarks
  • 9:45am - 10:45am Fedor BENEVICH (University of Edinburgh)
    Between Meaning and Reference: Maʿānī in Post-Avicennan Philosophy
  • 11:15am - 12:15am Lucie TARDY (Paris 1)
    The ṣifāt maʿnawiyya in al-Juwaynī’s Kitāb al-Irshād

12:15am - 2pm Lunch Break

Afternoon – Chair: Jean-Baptiste Brenet (Paris 1)

  • 3pm - 4pm David WIRMER (Universität zu Köln)
    ‘Intermediate Spiritual Forms’ and Their Place in Ibn Bāǧǧa’s Theory of Maʿnā
  • 4:30pm - 5:30pm Ulrich RUDOLPH (Universität Zürich)
    Al-Māturīdī’s Usage of the Term maʿnā
  • 5:30pm - 6pm Closing Remarks


  • Fedor BENEVICH (University of Edinburgh)
    Between Meaning and Reference: Maʿānī in Post-Avicennan Philosophy
    In my presentation, I will explore two philosophical issues discussed in post-Avicennan philosophy with respect to the notion of maʿnā: 1) the logical structure of predication and 2) the reality of divine attributes. I will argue that the predominant understanding of maʿnā in post-Avicennan tradition (probably developed under the influence of Avicennan conceptualist essentialism) is of an intensional object. Intensional objects are meanings of words that exist in the real world outside our minds without being distinct objects, unlike referents. So, speaking of the logical structure of predication, post-Avicennans argue that predication implies the identity of the external referent without the identity of the maʿnā and the ḥaqīqa of the subject and the predicate. Likewise, the discussion of the divine attributes amounts to the question whether the presence of distinct intensional objects (maʿānī) next to the divine essence implies that there is more than one referent in our discourse of God. Al-Sāwī, Abū l-Barakāt, Ibn al-Malāḥimī and al-Šahrastānī are among the authors discussed in my presentation.
  • Lucie TARDY (Paris 1)
    The ṣifāt maʿnawiyya in al-Juwaynī’s Kitāb al-Irshād
    he Ashʿarī theologian al-Juwaynī draws a distinction between two types of divine attributes (ṣifāt): the “attributes of self” (ṣifāt nafsiyya) and the “qualifying attributes” (ṣifāt maʿnawiyya). While the first type of ṣifāt is God’s, in and of Himself, the attributes maʿnawiyya are identified with characteristics (aḥkām) caused by maʿānī which inhere in the essence of God. Thus, ‘being willing’ or ‘knowing’ are characteristic properties that indicate the existence, within God, of their corresponding maʿānī (the maʿnā of Will, the maʿnā of Knowledge).
    What does the concept of maʿnā, in this context, refer to? The aim of this presentation is to give a clearer account of this concept, given that the theological context – the problem of God’s attributes– engage both the issue of attribution in its epistemological dimension and some of the most singular features of Juwaynī’s ontology.
    Two main questions will be discussed. First, we will try to clarify the causal relation existing between the maʿānī and their corresponding ṣifāt (ṣifāt maʿnawiyya) or grounded (muʿallal) modes (aḥwāl). Second, we will focus on the ontological status of the maʿnā inhering in God’s essence. How should the existence of an entitative causative factor be understood in God? This last problem is among the most difficult of Juwaynī’s theology, since it requires to be solved to identify whether or not these maʿānī are to be conceived as real and existing entities.
  • Beata SHEYHATOVITCH (Tel Aviv University)
    When meanings have gender and number
    he term maʿnā lit. ‘meaning’ is very important and frequent in various Islamic disciplines. Maʿnā, usually used as an opposite of lafẓ ‘(linguistic) form/expression’, is employed in many diverse contexts and is found with a variety of referents. It may refer, for instance, to the speaker’s intention, the word’s referent, the word/phrase/sentence that are semantically equivalent to the given ones, the constituent’s function, the object’s attribute, etc. Alexander Key claims that the interpretation of “mental content” covers this wide range of uses.
    Muslim scholars view the purpose of the language as expressing meanings/intentions. However, they recognize that linguistic expressions do not always stand in one-to-one correspondence to meanings: synonyms (kalimāt mutarādifa) are viewed (by some scholars) as different expressions with the same meaning, homonyms (kalimāt muštaraka) are viewed as expressions that have several meanings; certain meanings are perceived as “being included” (mutaḍammana) in the expression or “being entailed” (mustalzama) by it.
    In my talk I will focus on cases in which the idea of mismatches between the meaning and the expression is employed in technical grammatical discussions. Grammarians may say of a certain constituent that the grammatical properties of its meaning differ from the grammatical properties of its expression (e.g., the expression may be in the singular whereas its meaning is in the dual/plural), or a certain grammatical construction may be said to exist on the expression-level but not on the meaning-level (e.g., improper annexation is called ʾiḍāfa lafẓiyya lit. ‘formal annexation’ because it is viewed as existing only on the expression-level). In these contexts, meaning is presented as a constituent/phrase equivalent to the produced one, which is present in the speaker’s mind and can explain certain properties of the produced constituent/phrase. In some cases speakers can choose whether they make other speech constituents agree with the expression-level (al-ḥaml ʿalā al-lafẓ) or with the meaning-level (al-ḥaml ʿalā al-maʿnā).
  • David WIRMER (Universität zu Köln)
    ‘Intermediate Spiritual Forms’ and Their Place in Ibn Bāǧǧa’s Theory of Maʿnā
    Although Ibn Bāǧǧa sometimes defines maʿnā as “form separated from matter” (ṣūra munfarida ʿan al-mādda), it can be shown that this thesis does neither imply the existence of separate forms or ‘ideas,’ nor does it even presuppose the possibility of a purely eidetic consideration of formal content, independent from its logical and physical implications, as it is famously claimed by Ibn Sīnā. Rather, Ibn Bāǧǧa develops the concept of maʿnā on the basis of a complex theory of relations that allows him to conceive of different degrees of separateness of a form (or maʿnā)―a separation, however, which never becomes total and thus allows to explain the peculiar feature of perception and intellection, i.e. that perception is of or about something and, hence, at the same time somehow identical with it and different from it.
    In his Governance of the Solitary (Tadbīr al-mutawaḥḥid) Ibn Bāǧǧa discusses the different relationships that perceived and intellected forms entertain with the real-world objects whose forms they are. Without, here, employing the term ‘maʿnā,’ these reflections build on and further develop Ibn Bāǧǧa’s earlier remarks on maʿnā in several of his commentaries and treatises, and in particular in his Kitāb al-nafs. The new term, used throughout the Governance, is that of “spiritual forms” (ṣuwar rūḥāniyya). While this newly fashioned concept goes beyond the epistemological considerations bound up with the notion of maʿnā and deploys its full meaning only in the practical (political) context, it does contribute one peculiar aspect to the epistemological study. For Ibn Bāǧǧa, here, introduces “intermediate spiritual forms” (ṣuwar rūḥāniyya mutawassiṭa) that are not only said to entertain a relationship with the real-world objects different from both that of perception and intellection, but that are also claimed to be the very basis of intellection proper. In my paper I will try to elucidate the concept of “intermediate spiritual forms” by showing how it integrates into Ibn Bāǧǧa’s general theory of maʿnā.

Thursday November 17, 2022

The question of pre-eternal science in the Hebrew philosophical tradition

Organisation :

S. Di Donato

Université Paris Cité, Room Valentin, 454A, Condorcet Building, 4, rue Elsa Morante, 75013 Paris (map)


  • 10am - 11am Silvia DI DONATO (CNRS, SPHere)
    Sur la tradition hébraïque de la Damima d’Averroès
  • 11am - 11:15am Coffee Break
  • 11:15am - 12:15am Warren ZEEV HARVEY (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
    Hasdai Crescas and the possible influence of Averroes’ Damima


  • 2pm - 3pm Yahuda HALPER (Bar-Ilan University)
    Damima and Dialectic in Averroes and the Hebrew Tradition
  • 3pm - 4pm David WIRMER (Universität zu Köln)
    Gersonides’ Ambiguous Reading of Maimonides’ Stance on Divine Knowledge
  • 4pm - 5pm Roberto GATTI (Ind. researcher)
    ‘Neither universal nor particular’: Gersonides on Averroes’ statement about God’s knowledge

Thursday December 8, 2022

Errare et perseverare. Errors and corrections at late Middle Ages

Véronique Decaix (Univ. Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, GRAMATA)
& Sophie Serra (Projet ERC ALFA, SYRTE, Observatoire de Paris/PSL-CNRS ; SPHere)

Université Paris Cité, Room Dali, 348A, Condorcet Building, 4, rue Elsa Morante, 75013 Paris (accès)

Morning – Chair: Aurélien Robert (CNRS, SPHere)

  • 9am - 10am Giora HON (Univ. of Haifa)
    A Philosophy of Error in Historical Context
  • 10am - 11am Maria SOROKINA (IRHT, CNRS)
    Erreur des sens, erreurs du calcul. A propos d’un argument dans la théorie des nombres.
  • 11am - 11:15am Coffee Break
  • 11:15am - 12:15am Matthieu HUSSON (CNRS/Observatoire de Paris-PSL, Projet ERC « ALFA »)
    Tables et instruments planétaires : deux régimes d’erreurs complémentaires

Afternoon – Chair: Sabine Rommevaux (CNRS, SPHere)

  • 2pm - 3pm A. CALVET
    L’erreur en terres alchimiques : entre défense et expérience
  • 3pm - 4pm Elena BALTUTA (Babes-Bolyai Univ., Cluj-Napoca)
    Eadem est scientia oppositorum : The Use of Errors in the Science of Perspectiva
  • 4pm - 4:15pm Break
  • 4:15pm - 5:15pm Joël CHANDELIER (Univ. Paris 8)
    Doser les médicaments, se tromper et corriger (début XIVe siècle)
  • 5:15pm - 5:30pm Concluding words

Erreur et fausseté sont deux notions proches, qui témoignent toutes deux de l’inadéquation entre la réalité et le discours (écrit, oral, calculé, dessiné) qui porte sur elle. La distinction entre ces deux notions existe pourtant, notamment dans la mesure où la fausseté tient à l’immuabilité tandis que l’erreur s’inscrit par définition dans une temporalité. En effet, elle se fait jour à partir du moment où elle est anticipée (reconnue comme un contenu approximatif, amendable, soumis à réélaborations ultérieures) ou, plus simplement, lorsqu’elle est corrigée et donc définie par rapport à un passé.
On ne compte plus les mentions, dans les propos introductifs des textes du Moyen Âge, d’une expression qui se ferait « sub correctione aliorum », laissant entendre par là, au-delà d’une humilité de façade, la réalité d’une conception de savoirs humains qui s’élaboreraient collectivement, au long du temps, par raffinements successifs. L’errance serait le lot de l’humain aux prises avec son désir de connaissance, et la correction une nécessité morale en plus de gnoséologique.
Les marques de l’erreur peuvent en effet être des déclarations explicites, de la part des auteurs eux-mêmes offrant leur travail à des développements ultérieurs ou bien corrigeant ou réprouvant des propos antérieurs (les leurs ou ceux des autres) dans le cadre de débats doctrinaux.

C’est à la conception de l’erreur, envisagée dans son fondement étymologique comme un « errement », un cheminement autour du territoire de la vérité qui creuse parfois durablement de nouvelles voies, que souhaite se consacrer cette journée d’études.
Où situer la limite entre des thèses considérées comme erronées et à écarter, et des déclarations humblement considérer comme imparfaites ? Quelle place la science médiévale latine faisait-elle à contenus approximatifs mais utilisables efficacement ? Comment traquer et attester d’une erreur ? Quelles formes de remédiations à l’erreur peuvent-elles envisagées : corrections ponctuelles ou réformes radicales ?

Les productions scientifiques (philosophie naturelle, médecine, astronomie…) de la fin du Moyen Âge latin, qu’il s’agisse de textes et de leurs annotations marginales, de listes de valeurs numériques ou de diagrammes, constituent un observatoire particulièrement pertinent pour remarquer les différents régimes de l’erreur et de la correction, révélant ainsi les conceptions épistémologiques des auteurs, et la façon dont ils pensent la connaissance dans son rapport à la temporalité et au travail collectif.

SCHEDULE 2021-2022
September 24
Univ. de Paris
New research on intentionality in the Middle Ages (2) V. Decaix
October 21-22
Univ. Paris 1
The ontological status od colours in Ancient, Arabic and Latin philosophy V. Decaix, K. Ierodiakonou,
with the support of the Institut Universitaire de France
December 9
Univ. de Paris
The term ma’nâ (intention) in the Arabic tradition,
between kalâm, falsafa and grammar
M. Rogasch, L. Tardy

May 12 Philosophy and medicine in the Arab and Latin Middle Ages C. Cerami, A. Robert,
J. Chandelier
June 23 Problemata of natural philosophy: the imaginary, the marvelous, the everyday S. Rommevaux, A. Panzica

Friday September 24

New research on intentionality in the Middle Ages (II)

University of Paris,
Room 646A-Mondrian, Building Condorcet, 4 rue Elsa Morante, 75013 Paris

V. Decaix (University Paris 1, Gramata, UMR 7219),

with the support of the Institut Universitaire de France

The aim of this workshop is to give a panorama of new and on-going research on the concepts of “intention” and “intentionality” in medieval philosophy.
Influenced by the Brentanian Tradition (and later by Phenomenology), medievalists have mainly focused on the noetic dimension of “intentional acts”, sustained by a reading of the commentaries of De anima, thereby giving a slightly too unilateral perspective on the concept of “Intentionality”.
By replacing the concept of intentio in the various contexts in which it emerges (ethics, politics, grammar, logic, physics, etc.) and by exploring diverse sources (juridical, theological, etc.), our purpose will be to get a broader, maybe less univocal, understanding of the medieval concept of intentionality, better mirroring the richness and complexity of its diverse uses during the Middle Ages.
In accordance with the MESRI circular dated August 5 relating to the health measures applicable to the start of the 2021 academic year, you will be asked to present the "passe sanitaire" to attend this event.

For any information, please contact:


Chair: Véronique Decaix (CNRS, CHSPAM, SPHere, UMR 7219)

  • 10am-10:15pm
    Welcoming words
  • 10:15am-11:15am
    Elena BALTUTA (Humboldt-Universität Berlin)
    From Physical to Cognitive: Types of Intentionality in the Middle Ages


Chair: Filipe SILVA (University of Helsinki)

  • 2pm-3pm
    Martin KLEIN (Universität Wüzburg)
    Actus vitalis and Erlebnis: Pre-reflexive self-awareness in the late middle ages
  • 3pm-4pm
    Charles EHRET (University Paris 1)
    Presentation of his book : Agir en vertu d’un autre. Thomas d’Aquin et l’ontologie de l’instrument, Paris, Vrin, 2021
  • 4pm-4:30pm
  • 4:30pm-5:30pm
    Anna TROPIA (Charles University Prague)
    On the side of Duns Scotus. How to conceive of assimilation?
  • 5:30pm-5:45pm
    Closing remarks

Thursday & Friday October 21 et 22, 2021
Université Paris 1

The ontological status od colours in Ancient, Arabic and Latin philosophy

Organisation :

V. Decaix (Université Paris 1, Gramata, UMR 7219),
K. Ierodiakonou (Université de Genève, AMPHI/ University of Athens),

with the support of the Institut Universitaire de France

Thursday October 21

Room 216, Centre Panthéon, 12 place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris

Chair: Véronique DECAIX (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, GRAMATA, IUF)

  • 2pm
  • 2:15pm-3:15pm
    Attila NÉMETH (Research Center for the Humanities, Budapest. Institute of Philosophy)
    Democritus on Colours and Colour Perception
  • 4:15pm-4:30pm Break
  • 4:30pm-5:30pm
    Victor CASTON (University of Michigan)
    Aristotle on the Appearance of Color and Other Perceptible Qualities

Friday October 22
Morning: Room 6, Centre Panthéon

Chair: Cristina CERAMI (CNRS UMR SPHERE 7219, Centre CHSPAM)

  • 10:30am-11:30am
    Jean-Baptiste BRENET (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Lumière et couleur chez Averroès : entre Alexandre d’Aphrodise et Ibn Bâjja
  • 11:30am-11:45am
  • 11:45am-12:45am
    Cecila PANTI (Università di Roma “Tor Vegata”)
    Color est lux incorporata perspicuo: physics of light and the nature of colour from Robert Grosseteste to the Liber de sensu et sensato attributed to Roger Bacon
  • 1pm-2:30pm LunchBreak

Afternoon: Room 216, Centre Panthéon

Chair: Aurélien ROBERT (CNRS, UMR SPHERE 7219, centre CHSPAM)

  • 2:30pm-3:30pm
    Yael KEDAR (Tel-Hai College, Israel)
    Real and Apparent Colors: The multiplication of species interpretation
  • 3:30pm-4:30pm
    Tawrin BAKER (University of Notre-Dame-Online)
    Colors in bodies, in the intermedium, and in the eye in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries
  • 4:30pm-4:45pm Break
  • 4:45pm-5:45pm
    Mattia MANTOVANI (KU-Leuven)
    Mechanical Colours. Descartes and the Late Scholastics
  • 4:45pm-6pm
    Mots de conclusion.

In accordance with the MESRI circular dated August 5 relating to the health measures applicable to the start of the 2021 academic year, you will be asked to present the "passe sanitaire" to attend this event.

The Study Day will happen in presential and online.

Inscription is required via the ’evento’ link. The Zoom link will be also be communicated this way.

For presential :

Zoom :

For any information, please contact:

Thursday December 9 2021

The term ma’nâ (intention) in the Arabic tradition – between kalâm, falsafa and grammar

Second part


Miriam Rogasch & Lucie Tardy
(Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, GRAMATA)

Université de Paris

Room Valentin, 454A, Building Condorcet,
4, rue Elsa Morante, 75013 Paris

The concept of ma’nā (conventionally translated by the term “intention”) is of central importance in Arabic grammar, the kalām and falsafa. Despite its centrality, the complexity of its usage and its meaning has only been partially investigated and the history of the term still remains to be written. The plurality of traditions and sources in which the concept of ma’nā appears only adds to the challenge that one is confronted with when trying to determine what meaning this term conveys. To provide an example, in the tradition of falsafa alone, the concept of ma’nā appears in contexts as diverse as metaphysics, logic, psychology, noetics, and the theory of action.

Given the richness and importance of the concept of ma’nā, the aim of this workshop is twofold: firstly, our objective is to elucidate the meaning of the term in specific contexts in which this concept is central. Secondly, by bringing together specialists from different fields, we hope to further the interdisciplinary exchange on the subject, thereby laying the foundation for a more encompassing history of the concept of ma’nā.
The Study Days will be in two parts, the first was on May 6 2021, the third one on October 13 2022. .

  • 9:15am - 9:30am Presentation

Session I, Chair Ziad BOU AKL (CNRS, ENS)

  • 9:30am - 10:30am
    Silvia di VINCENZO (IMT Lucca)
    Du lafẓ au maʿnā : la logique avicennienne au carrefour de la psychologie et de la métaphysique
  • 10:30am - 11:30am
    Miriam ROGASCH (Université Paris 1)
    Le maʿnā dans la métaphysique d’Avicenne
  • 11:30am - 11:45 Break
  • 11h45 - 12h45
    Cristina CERAMI (CNRS, SPHere)
    Le maʿnā ḫāṣṣ : quelques pistes gréco-arabes

Session 2, Chair: G. AYOUB (Inalco)

  • 2:30pm - 3:30pm
    Julien SIBILEAU (Inalco Paris)
    Quelques éclaircissements sur les maʿniyyāt al-maʿānī dans les Ḫaṣāʾiṣ d’Ibn Ǧinnī (m. 392/1002)
  • 3:30pm - 4:30pm
    Hachem FODA (Inalco Paris)
    La question du ma‘nā dans la poésie arabe médiévale à la lumière du plagiat (sariqa)
  • 4:30pm - 4:45pm Break
  • 4:45pm - 5:45pm
    Robert GLEAVE (University of Exeter)
    The maʿnā/murād distinction in Shī’ī ușūl al-fiqh
  • 5:45pm - 6:15pm
    Final discussion

Thursday May 12 2022
Université Paris Cité, Room Malevitch, 483A, Building Condorcet

Philosophy and medicine in the Arab and Latin Middle Ages

Organisation :
C. Cerami, A. Robert, (CNRS, CHSPAM-SPHere), J. Chandelier (Université Paris VIII)

If it is not possible for you to attend, to get an online connexion (Zoom), we thank you to email to C. Cerami, befor May 19 with keyword « 12-05-22 zoom » as subject.

  • 10:00am Introduction
  • 10:30am – 11:30am
    Chiara BENEDUCE (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen - Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma)
    John Buridan and the Sense of Touch
  • 11:30am ‑ 12:30am
    Thibault MIGUET (Université Paris-Est Créteil)
    L’encyclopédie médicale du Viatique du voyageur d’Ibn al-Ǧazzār (Xe s.) : enjeux et perspectives
  • 14:30am ‑ 15:30am
    Anna GILI (Università degli studi di Padova)
    Les relations entre médecine et philosophie dans la préface du Kitāb al-Malakī et de ses deux traductions latines
  • 15:30am – 16:30am
    Mehrnaz KATOUZIAN- SAFADI (CNRS, SPHere, Paris)
    Philosophes et Médecins face à la constitution de l’homme : Impacts de la géographie et du climat, entre théories et spécificités régionales

Thursday June 23
Université Paris Cité*,
Room Klimt, 366A, 3rd floor

Problemata of natural philosophy: the imaginary, the marvelous, the everyday

S. Rommevaux, A. Panzica

For any information, please contact A. Panzica: ;

10am - 12:30am

  • Aurora PANZICA (Université de Fribourg / Fonds National Suisse de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Problemata de philosophie naturelle dans les commentaires aristotéliciens : Blaise de Parme et Actalde d’Averse
  • Sabine ROMMEVAUX (CNRS, SPHere)
    Remarques préliminaires sur les Problemata dans les Questiones super libros physicorum de Blaise de Parme

2pm - 4pm

  • Maciej STANEK (University of Katowice, Poland)
    Some remarks on the connection between Problemata and the commentaries on the Parva naturalia in the late Middle Ages
  • Zuzana LUKŠOVÁ (Czech Academy of Sciences)
    Problemata in the Arts Quodlibets at the Prague University 1400-1417: their Function and Sources
  • Final discussion on prospective of the project

* Université Paris Cité, Building Condorcet, 10 rue Alice Domon et Léonie Duquet, 75013 Paris. Campus Map.
Plan your itinerary with the Parisian Public Transport
Metro : Line 14 and RER C, stop : Bibliothèque François Mitterrand or line 6, stop : Quai de la gare. Buses: 62 and 89 (stop: Bibliothèque rue Mann), 325 (stop: Watt), 64 (stop: Tolbiac-Bibliothèque François Mitterrand)