Anonymous Oxonian Dubitationes on Aristotle’s De sensu et sensato (Prague, Metropolitan Chapter, Ms. M. 80, ff. 131vb–132vb)


  • Monika MANSFELD


medieval Aristotelianism; natural philosophy; De sensu et sensato; Aristotle; University of Oxford


The incomplete commentary on Aristotle’s De sensu et sensato found in Prague, Metropolitan Chapter, Ms. M. 80, ff. 131vb–132vb was composed around 1250 in Oxford. Its author, whose identity is yet to be discovered, drew heavily on the so-called Oxford Gloss and Robert Grosseteste. It must have been originally designed for teaching purposes, presumably at the Faculty of Arts. Its peculiar form — dubitationes — indicate a divergence from literal explanations of source texts, leading to a more independent formulation of research problems. For this reason, it emerges as an intermediary form between expositions and question-commentaries. These dubitationes are divided into two thematically distinct blocks beginning with short lemmas. First seven of them deal with the relationship between an organism viewed as a psychophysical unity and its various operations, such as sensations and emotions. The other block contains five short dubitationes on animal senses and a longer one on whether celestial bodies have colour. This neat composition is, however, interrupted by an independent note regarding the order of the powers of the soul following the first dubitatio in the second block.