Nicola Polloni

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (Oct 2019-Dec 2019)

PhD, Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow, Humboldt University of Berlin

Nicola Polloni holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Pavia and the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is currently Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He has previously worked at the universities of Pavia (IT) and Durham (UK). Nicola Polloni’s primary research interest is the intertwining of ontological and epistemological puzzles about prime matter in the Middle Ages. He is currently carrying out a thorough examination of patterns, strategies, and solutions around this problematic core of Aristotelian ontology. More specifically, his research addresses central questions concerning the epistemological problem of matter: How can humans have knowledge of formless matter? How does prime matter limit human understanding of the natural world? A second strand of his research is the examination of instances of cross-pollination between Islamicate and Latinate traditions, particularly in relation to metaphysics, natural philosophy, and scientific disciplines. In this context, Nicola Polloni’s main interest is the influence that the epistemological and logical theories formulated by Avicenna, Ibn Gabirol, and Averroes had on premodern debates, especially in relation to the epistemic limitations of natural philosophy and science.



  • Glimpses of the Invisible: Gundissalinus’s Ontology of Matter and Form. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies. Forthcoming.
  • Gundissalinus and Avicenna: Some Remarks on an Intricate Philosophical Connection. Documenti e Studi sulla Tradizione Filosofica Medievale, vol. 28 (2017): 515–552.
  • Appropriation, Interpretation and Criticism: Philosophical and Theological Exchanges Between the Arabic, Hebrew and Latin Intellectual Traditions. Edited by A. Fidora and N. Polloni. Barcelona Roma: FIDEM, 2017.
  • Gundissalinus's Application of al-Farabi's Metaphysical Programme. A Case of Epistemological Transfer. Mediterranea. International Journal on the Transfer of Knowledge, vol. 1 (2016): 69–106.
  • Thierry of Chartres and Gundissalinus on Spiritual Substance: The Problem of Hylomorphic Composition. Bulletin de Philosophie Médiévale, vol. 57 (2015): 35–57.



Knowing the Shadow: The Experiential Dimension of Matter


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