Siger of Brabant

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


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.


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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Siger of Brabant on Divine Providence and the Indeterminacy of Chance, ANDREW LAZELLA
To be sure, Dante does not explicitly mention him in heaven, nevertheless his presence may be felt through the figure of the Averroist philosopher Siger of Brabant. Heaven isn't about orthodoxy, she stresses, but about the harmonious reconciliation of differences.
Moreover, completely bent on safeguarding the harmony between revelation and reason, both of them deemed Siger of Brabant's suggestions of incompatibility thoroughly unreasonable.
A quick survey of recent general histories of medieval thought, for instance, suggests that his significance for intellectual historians lies entirely in his authorship of the Commedia and his boldly unorthodox tribute therein to Siger of Brabant (Par.
14.7-15), where the poet expresses his desire to reconcile all pagan and Christian sources in the 'heavenly Athens': hence the emphasis on harmony in Limbo and in Paradiso X-XI, where even Siger of Brabant (a 'controfigura' of Cavalcanti) is reconciled with his enemies in the church.
In the latter chapter, Fortin contrasts the Condemnation of Philosophy (1277) by Etienne Tempier, bishop of Paris (recommended for inspection by Fortin), and the over-enthusiastic Aristotelianism of Siger of Brabant and Boethius of Dacia; and takes a glance at St.
Many of the best-known philosophers and theologians of the late Middle Ages were examined for possibly erroneous beliefs at one time or another, including Siger of Brabant, Peter Olivi, William of Ockham, Meister Eckhart, and even Thomas Aquinas.
The influence of Mazzotta's Vico scholarship shows up throughout the book, but most profoundly in "Imagination and Knowledge," where he shows that Dante, along with the apparently incompatible thinkers Averroes, Siger of Brabant, and Aquinas, proposes that the "imagination is the central path to knowledge".
Nor was Maurer's textual scholarship limited to translations: his numerous editions in articles of shorter texts from figures such as Henry Harclay and Adam of Buckfield were complemented by his fine edition of Siger of Brabant's Quaestiones in Metaphysicam.
But it is interesting to note that a contemporary of his who was teaching in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Paris, the so-called Latin Averroist, Siger of Brabant, did address the question in these terms.
MOST ASSESSMENTS OF SIGER OF BRABANT'S CONTRIBUTION to philosophy have tended to focus on his adoption of Averroistic noetics, a position he would later renounce, and on his supposed role as the factious leader of a group of "Latin Averroists" within the Faculty of Arts, an enduring myth finally put to rest by R.-A.
The two radical Aristotelians on whom Wippel focuses are Siger of Brabant and Boethius of Dacia.