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Mathematical and Metaphysical Space in the Early Fourteenth Century

  • William O. DubaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 48)

Abstract

Medieval philosophers did not unequivocally support the Aristotelian doctrine of container-place, that is, that the place of a thing is the first immobile surface of what contains the thing. John Duns Scotus (d. 1308) famously developed a theory that tried to resolve the problems of container-place through an appeal to a notion of equivalence. Peter Auriol (d. 1322) took the radical step of reducing place to the category of position, understood with relation to the three-dimensional extension of the universe. Auriol called this “place according to metaphysical consideration” and contrasted it with “place according to physical consideration.” This division reflects one in another thinker, Nicholas Bonet (fl. 1333), who in his Philosophia naturalis distinguished between mathematical and natural senses of place. Rather than being influenced by Auriol, Bonet developed Scotus’ doctrine of equivalent place into a doctrine of mathematical place and time. To support his position, Bonet drew upon the Aristotelian notion of abstraction and selectively read Averroes as explicitly supporting his position.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut d’Études MédiévalesUniversité de FribourgFribourgSwitzerland

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