Causal Determinism in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period

11-02-2021 at 16:00
Robert Pasnau (University of Colorado Boulder)

You are cordially invited to attend the Sarton Centre, Ghent/Venice HPS Seminar, which will take place via Zoom. Please find all the relevant information below.


Time: Feb 11, 2021 04:00 PM Paris


Speaker: Prof. Robert Pasnau (University of Colorado Boulder,


Title: Causal Determinism in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period


Abstract: Within European philosophy, one of the inheritances from Islamic philosophy is the thesis of causal determinism. In the absence of any clear signal from Aristotle, a deterministic conception of cause had considerable influence among thirteenth-century Latin authors until it was condemned in 1270 and again in 1277. But then what? How does one conceive of causality in non-deterministic ways? The principal way forward was to ascribe to the human will some sort of special indeterministic power. This seems to have been enough to lay such issues to rest, more or less, until the seventeenth century, when that conception of will was mocked for its obscurity, and judged unnecessary to preserve human freedom. These authors were thus led back to the problem of causal determinism.


To register for the Zoom link, please send an email to