Absolute Spatial Differences: Grosseteste Reading of Aristotle’s On the Heavens

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Clelia Crialesi


This article deals with Robert Grosseteste’s account of ‘spatial differences’, such as ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘right’, ‘left’, ‘before’, and ‘behind’. More specifically, attention is focused on Grosseteste’s De differentiis localibus, which is a concise scientific treatise arguing for the objectiveness of the differences of place pertaining to all living bodies, including heavenly ones. The article has a two-fold goal: to present the contents of such an understudied opuscule, and to check if there is some compelling reliance on any of the Latin versions of Aristotle’s On the Heavens. Such an analysis reveals that Grosseteste’s reading of Aristotle’s On the Heavens is angled by Averroes’ Long Commentary on the Physics, on which Grosseteste relies as well to build his conception of mathematical and natural differences.


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