Who is Sigerus de Brabant?June 26, 2021
Sigerus de Brabant (Siger of Brabant), the known leader of the Averroists in the thirteenth century, is thought to have been born around 1240 in a village in the Duchy of Brabant, located in present-day Belgium. After receiving his primary education in the city of Liege, he became a priest in the church of St. Paul.
He later joined the Picard community at the University of Paris, where he went, and from 1266 he taught at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Paris, especially on Aristotelian philosophy, which was banned from 1215. Because he had a highly developed experience in this regard and was almost unrivaled. However, Bonaventura, for example, accused Sigerus of his comments on Aristotle; found these comments contrary to the Christian faith. Thomas Aquinas, in his work titled De Unitate Intellectus (About the Unity of the Mind), especially expressed Sigerus’s reaction to Aristotle’s interpretation of De Anima.
At the University of Paris, which was founded in the eleventh century, lectures were given in four faculties. These faculties were the Faculties of Literature, Medicine, Law and Theology. Students attending the university were divided into four groups: French, Norman, Picard, and English. The Picard people/community (Natione Picardie) lived in the Latin quarter of Paris. Among these students, who came from the Picardie region in the north of France, there were Dutch speakers as well as French speakers. Teachers, take this distribution into consideration, the students who took their classes would know this too.
On December 10, 1270, Cardinal E. Tempier issued accusations against a total of thirteen philosophical propositions, which basically contained four errors. These accusations were mainly about the unity of reason, moral determinism, the eternality of the world, and the rejection of divine foresight. The Faculty of Letters reacted to this and took a stance in favor of teaching unbelievable thoughts. After these developments, three faculty members, especially Sigerus, were expelled from the University of Paris. In 1277, Sigerus, who was again accused of some philosophical judgments, went to Orvieto to give an account before the Papal authority. He was stabbed to death by his insane secretary on February 22, 1282. Agostino Nifo mentions himself as the founder of Averroism in an article he wrote around 1500 (Maurer, 1982: 407-408; Bazan, 2006: 632-633).
In 1270, Aegidius Romanus (Gilles of Rome) tried to point out the mistakes of philosophers such as Aristotle, Averroes, Avicenna, Ghazali, Kindi, and Maimonides on whom Averroists relied in his work Errores Philosophorum. The responses to this work were very harsh and confused. The thirteen propositions of the Averroists were listed by Stephen Tempier and condemned in a proclamation in 1270. Later Pope XXI. A commission of sixteen theologians convened at the behest of Paulus, this time prepared a list of 219 items. Here, there were also the propositions of some philosophers who were opposed to the Averroists. Although the accusations did not prevent Aristotelianism and Averroism, they deepened the divide between theologians and philosophers.
Sigerus de Brabant wrote many articles, including works of logic. His works on logic include Quaestiones Logicales (Questions on Logic); It can be counted as Sophismata. His comments on Aristotle’s works include In III De Anima (De Anima Superior Commentary); De Generatione (About Becoming); Physika (Physics) and Metaphysica (Metaphysics). Liber de Causis (The Book of Causes), one of the most famous texts of that period, and his original work, De Necessitate et Contingentia Causarum (On the Necessity and Contingency of Causes); De Aeternitate Mundi (About the Eternal-Eternity of the Universe) and De Anima Intellectiva (About the Intellectual Spirit) are important. In particular, De Anima Intellectiva is a kind of response to Thomas Aquinas’s work De Unitate Intellectus Contra Averroistas (About the Unity of Opposite Reason) by the Papacy.
– Brabant’s understanding of God and the universe
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook