|Juhana Toivanen, Post-doctoral researcher
Natural Slaves, Just War, and Recognition of the Other in Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
In the CoE Reason and Religious Recognition, I study mutual recognition and dialectical constitution of personhood in the context of medieval and renaissance interpretations of Aristotle’s view concerning natural slavery. When Aristotle’s Politics was translated into Latin, medieval philosophers got in touch with a sophisticated theoretical explanation of the relationship between a master and a slave. They used various strategies to reconcile this view with the natural law tradition, which emphasises the original equality of mankind. My research pertains to these discussions from the point of view of mutual recognition, as I examine whether the Aristotelian idea of essential differences between slaves and masters was replaced by a more dynamic understanding of the relation. The main body of primary sources consists of commentaries on Aristotle’s Politics and on the pseudo-Aristotelian Oeconomica, written between 1250 and 1600.
In addition, I examine medieval theories of just war from the perspective of religious recognition. When philosophers and lawyers elaborated on the conditions that justify warfare, they discussed also the role of religion, and some of them argued in favour of tolerance of other religions. My aim is to investigate whether their ideas count further as recognition of the rights of other religious groups and legitimacy of their leadership.