Conference on Hervaeus Natalis – Abstract

One of the most important early fourteenth-century thinkers is the Dominican Hervaeus Natalis, who died in 1323. While purporting to defend the thought of Thomas Aquinas against his critics such as Durandus of St. Pourçain, he turns out to be a very independent thinker himself, who on core issues follows his master Godfrey of Fontaines rather than Aquinas. Hervaeus has been widely credited as the inventor of the notion of intentionality, which Brentano reintroduced into the philosophical discussion. He was still widely read in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, when many of his works were printed and studied by figures such as Francisco Suarez. Less known than his polemics against Durandus are his works directed against his contemporaries Henry of Ghent, James of Metz, John Duns Scotus, Peter Auriol, and John of Pouilly. Many of Hervaeus’s works are still unedited, while others exist only in unreliable Early Modern prints. While these textual difficulties have kept scholars from studying him systematically, in the last twenty-five years, scholarly attention to his works has increased significantly. Nevertheless, we still have only very approximate knowledge of his views on core issues that were debated in his time. This conference, in occasion of the 700th anniversary of his death, will be the first to be devoted to this thinker. Building on the resurgence of scholarship on Hervaeus, it will host an international group of experts to explore his epistemology, metaphysics, cosmology, moral psychology, and ethics, with a special attention to doctrinal dependencies, divergences, and polemics.

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