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Summer School 2024

The Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy Thematic Line (Institute of Philosophy of the University of Porto) is pleased to announce the first Porto Summer School on Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy.

Focused on Medieval Theories of Cognition and their influence on Late Scholasticism, this Summer School will take place from 1 to 6 July 2024 at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Porto.

The School is designed mainly, but not exclusively, for PhD candidates and Master students interested in theories of knowledge, epistemology and the mind-body-soul problem from Medieval to Early Modern Philosophy. Applications from graduate students and postdoctoral researchers at early career levels in Philosophy are also welcome.

The program will run blended: Expository seminars by invited scholars, and workshops will be organised to present and discuss the submitted papers.

The 1st meeting of the Porto Summer School on Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy aims to explore the transformations in the theories of knowledge in the broad timespan from the 13th to the 17th century. Its main objective will be to examine common elements as well as breakpoints that characterise the different ways in which philosophers accounted for the problem of the nature and  limits of human knowledge. This Summer School will deal with this kind of issues: is human reason capable of knowing the objects of the material world with certainty? If so, what psychological mechanisms give access to these objects?  What is the role of the imagination and of the intellect in this process? Is there a clear boundary between human knowledge and that of irrational animals? Medieval theories of cognition defending the mind’s ability to know the world with certainty were committed to the so-called theory of species as mental tools able to represent the outside objects in the mind. Therefore, such theories were also committed to a certain form of realism. However, consistent criticisms of such theory (most of which addressing Thomas Aquinas’s theory of the species) were already spreading at the end of the 13th century, thereby opening new scenarios and raising new questions: is the likeness between the mental world and the outside world necessary for a cognitive act to take place? Are there alternatives to abstractionism and realism? If there are, what is the metaphysical model at the basis of these alternatives? Is it possible to find, in the works of medieval and early modern authors, an outline of modern theories about the autonomy of the knowing subject?

Debated in medieval philosophy, these questions spread to contemporary philosophy as well. Among the various topics currently under discussion that have their roots in ancient and medieval epistemology are the debate on the nature and limits of knowledge and access to one’s own mental states (“self-knowledge”), and the nature of perception.

Seminars will be led by

  • André Martin (Charles University, Prague)
  • Anna Tropia (Charles University, Prague)
  • Dani Pino (Universidad de Sevilla)
  • Domingos Faria (Universidade do Porto)
  • Fabio Lampert (University of Vienna)
  • Olivier Ribordy (Universität Wien)
  • Paula Oliveira e Silva (Universidade do Porto)
  • Peter John Hartman (Loyola University Chicago)


  • Dimitri Khakhishvili, Ilia State University, Tbilisi
  • Dominic LaMantia, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
  • Evan Dedolph, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano
  • Filippo Lorillo, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • Joschka Dunz, Universität Würzburg
  • Katarina Peixoto, University of Virginia
  • Lorenzo Centini, Charles University, Prague
  • Maria Eduarda Machado, Universidade do Porto
  • Nicoletta Nativo, Charles University, Prague
  • Nino Adamia, Ilia State University, Tbilisi
  • Pedro Pricladnitzky, Paderborn University
  • Rituparna Roy, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
  • Sam Alma, University of Gröningen
  • Samuel Pell, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
  • Vasco Mano, Universidade do Porto

& Comments

  • Fran O’Rourke (DCU, Dublin)
  • Vera Rodrigues (Porto)
  • João Rebalde (Porto)
  • Mário Correia (Porto)
  • José Meirinhos (Porto)

Scientific Committee
Anna Tropia, José Meirinhos, Paula Oliveira e Silva (chair), Vera Rodrigues

Proposal & Organizing Committee
Paula Oliveira e Silva, Vera Rodrigues (chair)
Secretariat – Eduarda Machado, Filipa Teixeira, Isabel Marques

Project & Funding
Medieval and Early Modern Theories of Cognition. New Approaches to an Old Debate (Ref. IF.Proj.08.2024 – IP Vera Rodrigues)