Author Archives: José Filipe Pereira da Silva

RiP at the World Congress Philosophy

Two of the RiP team members, JFS and AV, were present at the WCP 2018 that took place in Beijing. RiP organised a special session on Problems of Perception (Saturday 18, 11:10-13:00), which also counted with Juhana Toivanen from the Representation and Reality Research Project (he gave a paper together with JFS). The session was very well-attended, so thanks to the speakers and audience for their participation.

New postdoc

The RiP project would like to welcome, with a slight delay, the new postdoctoral researcher to the project, Carla Di Martino. Carla has worked on issues close to those of the RiP project, so she is a welcome addition to the team. She will help us organise a seminar together with the University of Lille in the Fall. Stay tuned.

SIEPM Conference in Porto Alegre

The whole RiP team is heading to the SIEPM Congress in Porto Alegre (Brazil), entitled HOMO – NATURA – MUNDUS: HUMAN BEINGS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS. The SIEPM Congress is the major event for people working on Medieval Philosophy and takes place every 5 years. It is therefore a great opportunity to be there and showcase the project. Our session is on Wednesday July 26th:

Session 20: Building 40, Room 409, 4th Floor.

(Special Session Proposed by José Filipe Silva – ERC Project Rationality in Perception: Transformations of Mind and Cognition 1250–1550)
Title of the Session: One World – Differing Perceptions / Um Mundo – Diferentes Percepções.

Chair: José Filipe Silva.
1. Anselm Oelze: Augustine on the Difference between Human and Nonhuman Sensation.
2. José Filipe Pereira da Silva: Vision and Discrimination: Late Medieval Perspectives.
3. Annemieke Verboon: Cogitative and Estimative Power: The Physiology of Sense Perception in Human Beings and Animals.


Joint Conference in Helsinki June 9-11

The Conference is jointly organised by the ERC research project Rationality in Perception: Transformations of Mind and Cognition 1250-1550 (directed by José Filipe Silva) and the Research Programme Representation and Reality: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives in the Aristotelian Tradition (directed by Christina Thomsen-Törnqvist)

VENUE: Metsätalo Sali 6 (3rd Floor)

Programme (you can download it here: Knowledge as Assimilation)

Day 1

9.30-10 José Filipe Silva and Christina Thomsen-Thörnqvist, OPENING WORDS

10-11 Eyjólfur K. Emilsson, Plotinus on Perceptual Judgment and Innateness

11-12 Sarah Byers, Victorinus and Augustine on the Identity of Content Known in First and Second Actuality of Knowledge

12-14 LUNCH

14-15 Jörn Müller, Truth as adequation in Thomas Aquinas: Some problems

15-16 Therese Cory, Assimilation vs. Representation: A Proposal regarding Intelligible Species in Aquinas

16-16.30 COFFEE

16.30-17.30 KEYNOTE 1: Mohan Matthen, Perception as Spatial Representation

19.30 DINNER


Day 2

9.30-10.30 Jon McGinnis, Some Becoming Remarks: Avicenna’s Criticism of the Assimilation Theory of Cognition and of Becoming the Intelligible Object

10.30-11 COFFEE

11-12 Carla Di Martino, Rationality in Perception. Avicenna and Aquinas

12-13 Cecilia Trifogli, Thomas Aquinas and Giles of Rome on the Reception of Forms without the Matter

13-14.30 LUNCH

14.30-15.30 Dominik Perler, Is Assimilation Possible? Suárez on Intellectual Cognition

15.30-16 COFFEE

16-17 Keynote 2: Pavel Gregoric, The Intellect and its Objects in Aristotle’s De Anima III.4

19:30 DINNER


Day 3

10-11 Pauliina Remes, Platonists on Starting Points of Reasoning

11-11.30 COFFEE

11.30-12.30 Jari Kaukua, Avicenna’s Empiricism Reconsidered

12.30-13.30 Ana Maria Mora Marquez, Medievals on Singular Cognition (from Siger of Brabant to John Buridan) 

13.30-15 LUNCH

15-16.30 RiP Workshop



(For the Junior Scholars Workshop, see Section ‘Activities‘)

Joint Workshop in Uppsala

RiP PI José Filipe Silva and Postdoc Anselm Oelze will participate in a one day workshop jointly organised by our project and Pauliina Remes of Uppsala University.


A Workshop in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy: From Thought to Perception

Organizers: Philosophy Department, Uppsala university, and Rationality in Perception ERC-project, University of Helsinki.


Tuesday 18.4.1017

Before lunch break: Eng/2-K1023; after lunch break: Eng/2-1023.

10.15-10.30 Opening of the workshop

10.30-11.30 Peter Larsen: “Are There Forms of Sensible Qualities in Plato”

11.45-12.45 Vasilis Politis: “Why Are Froms Necessary for Thought”


14.30-15.30 José Filipe Silva: “Of Shadows and Men: How Platonic was Augustine?”

coffee break

16.00-17.00 Anselm Oelze: “Rationality without Reason: Late-Medieval Explanations of Rational Behaviours in Nonhuman Animals”


For further info, see:

Conference and Workshop June 2017

The preparations for the 2017 Conference and Workshop are well under way. The two events are organised in cooperation with the research group Representation and Reality. Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Aristotelian Tradition (Gothenburg, Sweden) and the Workshop also with the Nordic Network for the History of Philosophy. The programme of the Conference will be announced in April but for now please look at our Call for Papers:

(you can also find it here: Workshop:


Call for Papers

Workshop on

Perception, Knowledge, and Assimilation

June 12, 2017, University of Helsinki

ʻAll humans naturally strive for knowledgeʼ, Aristotle famously states at the beginning of his Metaphysics. Yet philosophers have wondered ever since what it means to know something and how we can actually acquire knowledge. Can we know anything at all, and if so, where does this knowledge come from? Do we need to have sensory information first and do we have to become like the things we want to know? In the history of philosophy, different answers have been given to these and related questions and in this workshop, we would like to discuss some of them, especially those by ancient, medieval, and early modern philosophers in the Greek, Latin, and Arabic tradition. We warmly welcome papers on any of these periods and traditions with particular focus on the role of perception and/or assimilation in the process of knowledge acquisition.

The workshop is organized by the European Research Council project Rationality in Perception: Transformations of Mind and Cognition 1250-1550 ( and the Representation and Reality. Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Aristotelian Tradition programme ( as part of the Nordic Network for the History of Philosophy workshop series ( It is intended to bring together junior scholars – doctoral students and early postdocs – from different fields in the history of philosophy. We will select up to 4 papers (25mins each plus 15mins for discussion). We are able to provide meals and accommodation (for 2 nights). Travel costs will be reimbursed up to 500 euros. All participants are very welcome to attend at their own cost the international conference “Knowledge as Assimilation” which takes place at the University of Helsinki immediately before the workshop (June 9-11).

If you would like to submit a paper for the workshop please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to until Friday, March 31, 2017. The organizers will notify you of their decision by the second week of April. For further information, please contact the organizers at