Siger of Brabant

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Siger of Brabant

 

Born circa 1235; died circa 1282, in Orvieto. Medieval philosopher; professor in the faculty of arts at the University of Paris; one of the founders of Western European Averroism.

In the treatises On the Intellectual Soul, On the Eternity of the World, Impossibilia, and On the Necessity of Correlations of Causes, as well as in his commentaries to the Physics, Metaphysics, and other works by Aristotle, Siger of Brabant developed his doctrine of double truth, according to which the truth of rational knowledge may contradict the truth of religious revelation. Acknowledging the existence of god as the final cause, he rejected the concept of creation “from nothing” and regarded the world as co-eternal with god. According to Siger of Brabant, god is not free in his relationship to the world, in which laws established by him prevail, manifested especially in the movement of the heavenly bodies. The human spirit (intellect) is an eternal, noncreated, nonmaterial substance, but the individual human soul is mortal.

The views of Siger of Brabant and his adherents were condemned by the Vatican in 1270 and 1277 and publicly refuted by Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, and R. Lull. Siger of Brabant was brought to trial by the Inquisition and summoned to the papal court, where he was murdered by his secretary during the investigation.

The ideas of Siger of Brabant influenced the philosophy of Dante, the Padua school of Averroists, P. Pomponazzi, and G. Pico della Mirandola.

WORKS

In P. Mandonnet, Siger de Brabant, vols. 1–2. Louvain, 1908–11.
In F. van Steenberghen, Siger de Brabant, vols. 1–2. Louvain, 1931–42.

REFERENCES

Shevkina, G. V. Siger Brabantskii i parizhskie averroisty XIII v. Moscow, 1972.
Grabmann, M. Der lateinishche Averroismus des 13. Jahrhunderts und seine Stellung zur Christlichen Weltanschauung. Munich, 1931.
Nardi, B. Sigieri di Brabante nel pensiero del rinascimento italiano. Rome, 1945.
Palma, G. La dottrina sull’ unita dell’intelletto in Sigieri di Brabante. Padua, 1955.

A. KH. GORFUNKEL