Nicole Oresme, Dualist

In Fabrizio Amerini, Simone Fellina & Andrea Strazzoni (eds.), Tra antichità e modernità. Studi di storia della filosofia medievale e rinascimentale. Parma: E-theca OnLineOpenAccess Edizioni. pp. 433-465 (2019)
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According to Nicole Oresme (c. 1320–1382), human beings, unlike all other animals, consist of two substances: a thinking substance and a sensing substance. This paper presents and explores the arguments Oresme uses to arrive at this position, which is unusual in medieval philosophical psychology and which at least superficially – though their methods are completely different – resembles what Descartes concluded about the nature of the human soul and body two and a half centuries later. The paper also considers some moments of ambivalence in Oresme’s presentation, as well as unresolved difficulties, several of which have theological as well as philosophical implications.

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Jack Zupko
University of Alberta


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