JOB: ZKS-Lendrum Assistant Professor (Research) in the Scientific Study of Manuscripts and Inscriptions

Do your philosophical and/or logical interests overlap with any of the manuscripts in the Durham Priory Library digitised collection? Then the job below may be relevant for you!

Job Vacancy

ZKS-Lendrum Assistant Professor (Research) in the Scientific Study of Manuscripts and Inscriptions 

£33,797 per annum

Fixed term – 12 months – full time  

Closing date: 11 April 2021, 11.59pm UK time

Start date: either 1 September 2021 or 1 January 2022.

For full details and to apply click here

Generous gifts from the Zeno Karl Schindler (ZKS) Foundation and Chris and Margaret Lendrum make it possible for the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) at Durham University to appoint a talented researcher and scholar to the role of Assistant Professor (Research) to work in the Scientific Study of Manuscripts and Inscriptions.

This field brings together scholars from very different disciplines, asking them to develop new questions and to use unfamiliar methodologies. The problems which they address range from new approaches to understanding science as practiced in medieval culture, through the challenges of digital presentation of sources and research results, to the non-invasive analysis of manuscripts. But in all they are required to embrace the value of integrated interdisciplinary work, developing and exploiting new frameworks for technological and intellectual innovation. IMEMS and Durham University have developed a strong reputation over recent years for innovative research within this field. Drawing on the structural capacity for collaborative research provided by Durham’s Research Institutes, as well as the remarkable resources available in situ, notably the outstanding manuscript and early printed book collections in the University, Cathedral and Ushaw libraries, and the artefacts of the Oriental Museum, scholars are breaking disciplinary boundaries under the auspices of this new IMEMS research strand.

Major recent examples of projects include:

We welcome applications from Humanities scholars or Social and Physical Sciences scholars, or those whose work bridges the disciplines.

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Summer Class: “Affective Intentionality in Medieval Philosophy and Phenomenology”

Not quite logic, but perhaps still of interest to logicians:

Call for Applications:

Summer module course “Affective Intentionality in Medieval Philosophy and Phenomenology”

Institute of Philosophy, Würzburg University

Deadline for applications: March 31th, 2021

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PhD position in theoretical philosophy at University of Gothenburg

The University of Gothenburg, Sweden, is advertising a PhD position in theoretical philosophy at University of Gothenburg. The theme is open: it can be anything that fits the supervisory capacities of the faculty of theoretical philosophy, including metaphysics, philosophy of mind and language, and epistemology, and the history of philosophy in these areas — people with an interest in medieval philosophy are specifically encourage to apply!

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3 year position in Ancient/Medieval Islamic Philosophy at LMU München

LMU München has a three-year position open for an “assistant” (research and teaching) in late ancient and Islamic philosophy. Deadline is Oct 1, 2020.

Text of advertisement:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München is one of the largest and most esteemed institutions of higher learning in Germany, offering a wide range of academic disciplines.
The Chair for Late Antique and Arabic Philosophy (Prof. Dr. Peter Adamson) at the Faculty for Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Religion at the LMU seeks to fill a temporary position beginning on April 1, 2021, as:
Academic staff member/Assistant of the chair (initially 3 years)

Your responsibilities:

  • Collaborative research in the areas of concentration of the chair, namely ancient and medieval philosophy – especially late antique philosophy or philosophy in the Islamic world.
  • Teaching: 5 hours per week (roughly corresponds to a 2/3 teaching load in the US).
  • Participation in other activities at the chair (research, teaching, administration)

Your profile:
Prerequisites are an excellent university degree and expertise in the area of research mentioned above. A further requirement is native or near-native facility in German or English. The candidate should have standard computer skills, be creative and capable of teamwork, results-oriented and willing to take on new challenges.

Our offer:
Your workplace is centrally located in Munich and is well-connected by public transport. We can offer an interesting and challenging work environment and good prospects for further career development.

If the candidate is suitably qualified the post-holder can be appointed as an “Akademischer Rat auf Zeit” (i.e. temporary civil servant status; requires doctoral degree). Otherwise salary will be calculated according to group E 13 TVL-employment. The position will end on 31.03.2024, with an option to be extended by another three years.

We particularly welcome applications from female candidates. The University intends to enhance the diversity of its faculty members: disabled candidates with essentially equal qualifications will be given preference. In principle it is possible for the post to be held part-time.

Please send your application with the usual documents (including CV, transcripts, diplomas, list of publications and courses taught), as well as a brief description of your expertise, either by email as a PDF file (max. 5 MB) or by post by 1.10.2020 to the following address.

LMU München
Lehrstuhl für Spätantike und Arabische Philosophie
Prof. Dr. Peter Adamson
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
80539 München

Should you have any questions, feel free to contact us via e-mail ( or by telephone +49 (0)89/2180-72154.

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Sten Ebbesen receives honorary degree from University of Bologna

Anyone who has had more than passing contact with the field of medieval logic, grammar, rhetoric, semantics has come across Sten Ebbesen, whose work is wide-ranging in time, place, and content. In February 2020 he received the “Laurea ad honorem” from the University of Bologna, with a laudatio by Constantino Marmo (another familiar name in medieval philosophy!).

The ceremony was recorded and can be watched on youtube:

Starting around 41:00, he gives a talk (in English, not in Latin!) called “A Scholarly Life”, including much about the study of the history of philosophy. Thanks to BPH who shared this over on Facebook—we figured others would also be interested in this!

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William of Sherwood on Necessity and Contingency

This afternoon I gave a talk on “William of Sherwood on Necessity and Contingency” at Advances in Modal Logic 2020. The slides are available here.

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Dr. Graziana Ciola interviews Dr. Sara L. Uckelman…


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Medieval modal logic: some short readings

I’m deep in the throws of the early research stages of a new paper, which means I need an outlet for collecting information and sorting out thoughts…i.e., I need to write blog posts! This will be the first of perhaps more than one posts where I provide brief excerpts on modal and temporal logic from various texts that are not currently translated and have not been discussed much (if at all) in the secondary literature. I’m not sure what of this will eventually result in a paper, but you won’t know what’s in the texts until you look at them…

I’m starting with texts in volume 2 of de Rijk’s Logica Modernorum (despite it being on “the origin and early development of the theory of supposition”, almost every text in that volume says something about modality, usually in the context of the modal syllogistic).

Ars Burana

This text exists in a single manuscript, and de Rijk says “I think, it may have come into existence in the third quarter of the twelfth century” (II.1:398).

The discussion of modality occurs in Part III “On the Conclusion” of the treatise. What follows is my (very rough; with some assistance at the very end from the lovely folks in the Medieval Logic FB group) translation of II.2:207-208:

Of categorical propositions, some are modal, others are of inherence (de inesse). [A proposition] of inherence or of simply inherence (de simplici inherentia) is that in which a predicate is attributed to a subject without determination or is removed [from the subject] simply, as in “Socrates is a man”, “Socrates is not a man”. A modal [proposition] is that in which a predicate is attributed to a subject with a determination, as in “Socrates necessarily is a man”, “Socrates contingently is white”. And those propositions are called “modal” by means of the mode which is put into it, namely “possible”, “impossible”, “contingent”, “necessary”. However, “modes” are so-called because they modify, that is determine, the inherence of the predicate.

Further, it must be known that this label “modal proposition” can be taken not only broadly but also strictly or very strictly. [Taken] broadly as in Boethius in the Commento, whereby all propositions in which some adverbial determinant is put down are said to be “modal”. Whence these are modal [propositions], according to Boethius: “Socrates reads well”, “Socrates disputes prudently”. It is taken strictly in which one of these modes is put down: “true”, “false”, “possible”, “impossible”, “contingent”, “necessary”. It is taken most strictly in which one of these modes is put down: “possible”, “impossible”, “contingent”, “necessary”. And it is according to that usage that Aristotle speaks of the modes in the Periermenias. And according to this, those propositions in which these words “true”, “false”, are put down are called “of inherence”, because they are equivalent to propositions of inherence. For I may say either “It is true that Socrates is a man” or “Socrates is a man”, [and] it is the same, because these propositions are equivalent. Further, these are equivalent: “It is false that Socrates is a man” and “Socrates is not a man”. And because a mode is sometimes preposed, sometimes interposed, and sometimes postposed to the appellation of the dictum, we should inquire what the appellation of the dictum is; but first [we should inquire] what a dictum is.

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Blinkered approaches and narrow-minded European-centrism: an apology

Last week I posted a quick and dirty recommended reading list for “getting started in medieval logic”, as the title of the post said. This post was shared in the Medieval Logic FB group, where it immediately sparked a discussion centering on one very important fact: What I recommended was a list of books for getting started not in “medieval logic” but in “medieval Latin logic”. As if the Middle Ages were only the European/Latin contributions, and completely overlooking the foundational developments by the Arabic logicians!

So this post is a both a public apology — by now, I really should know better than to essentialise and center the Latin practice so! — and also a promise. There are plans in the making to have a guest post, next week or the week after, on “What Should I Read?” which will contain only recommendations on sources from the Arabic tradition. Broaden your horizons! Be a completist! Don’t be like me! 🙂

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What Should I Read? Recommendations for getting started in medieval logic

Two weeks ago I was at a workshop and someone asked me what books they should read if they wanted to get started in medieval logic — not secondary sources, but which primary texts. I told him I’d write up a blogpost for him on that very topic. Jon, this post is for you. 🙂

The 13th Century

I’m going to start off with recommending my favorite 13th-century quartet:

  • William of Sherwood, Introduction to Logic
  • Roger Bacon, The Art and Science of Logic
  • Peter of Spain, Summulae Logicales
  • Lambert of Auxerre, Summa Lamberti

Why these four? First, because they are our first witnesses to the university textbook tradition in logic, and as such provide equal parts Aristotle and novel. Second, because all four are now available in English translation — two of them (Auxerre and Spain) are in bilingual editions, and one of them (Sherwood) has both Latin and English edition easily available. These are a great way for a non-expert to dive into the details of medieval developments in logic in a linguistically-accessible way. Something I recommend doing with these four is picking a single topic, and then seeing what each of the four have to say about the same topic — the answers are often quite divergent!

The Early 14th Century

  • Walter Burley:
    • De Puritate Artis Logicae, Tractatius brevior
    • De Puritate Artis Logicae, Tractatius longior
    • De consequentiis
    • De obligationibus
  • Richard Kilvington:
    • The Sophismata of Richard Kilvington (available in both Latin edition and English translation)
  • Thomas Bradwardine:
    • Insolubilia (available in bilingual edition)
  • William of Ockham:
    • Summa Logicae (portions available in translation)
  • John Buridan:
    • Summulae de dialecticae (available in English translation)

These give you an idea of the breadth of the developments in the early part of the fourteenth century — from the great compendia to the treatises on specialised topics.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor even a very coherent, but nonexhaustive one. It is just a list of the books that I recommend people get started with if they want to become familiar with the standard topics and techniques in late medieval logical developments.

Fellow medieval logicians, which is your favorite primary source (in easily accessible format) that you like to recommend to people? Please share in the comments!

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