Mapping the Via Marsiliana Marsilius of Inghen and His Legacy

March 3, 2022 - March 5, 2022
Center for the History of Philosophy and Science, Faculty of Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen


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Mapping the Via Marsiliana

Marsilius of Inghen and His Legacy 

Radboud University Nijmegen, 3-5 March 2022

The influence of the Dutch philosopher Marsilius of Inghen (1341 ca. – 1396) as a logician, as a metaphysician, and especially as a natural philosopher is as indisputable as it is understudied. The presence of Marsilius of Inghen as a major player on the philosophical scene was well established since the 14th century and lasted into the 17th century. Authors of the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Agostino Nifo, and Galileo Galilei still engaged with Marsilius’ works.

A number of Marsilius’ philosophical works were part of university curricula across Europe since the 1380s to the 1460s, in some cases even later. In a variety of metaphysical and semantic disputes raging in the early 16th century, Marsilius was recognised as a chef d’école and as the main proponent of a version of ‘nominalist’ philosophy alternative to John Buridan’s. 

Via marsiliana (the “Marsilian way”) came to label a way of conceiving, presenting, and defending ‘nominalism’ in the “style of Marsilius”. In 1499, for the centenary of Marsilius’ death, Konrad Wimpfeling and a group of Heidelberg nominalists published a commemorative volume celebrating the via marsiliana as one of the main philosophical viae modernae (Walz and Düchting 2008).  

However, there are many open questions concerning both the reception of Marsilian philosophy and the via marsiliana. These questions need to be answered in order to assess the possibly long lived impact of Marsilius’ philosophical approach. 

When does a via marsiliana emerge as a distinct take on ‘nominalism’? How does it stem from the early reception and circulation of Marsilius’ philosophy by his fellow Parisian nominalists and quasi-contemporary followers? Who are its key representatives? Do late-medieval and early-modern philosophers use the label “via marsiliana” to designate themselves or is this mainly a derogative term in use to designate one’s opponents? Are there geographical and chronological differences in what counts as “Marsilian” and in the twists and turns that the via marsiliana takes through time and space? What are the philosophical positions that come to be identified as peculiarly Marsilian and how do they relate to Marsilius of Inghen’s actual thought?

In order to obtain a clearer assessment of Marsilius of Inghen’s legacy and to draw the map of this via marsiliana, we invite contributions addressing Marsilius of Inghen’s philosophical thought and its reception both at an early stage and in the longue durée.

The conference will take place in Nijmegen between the 3rd and the 5th of March 2022 – with some flexibility on the dates depending on the number of accepted contributions.

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