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Pourquoi seul l’homme rit ? La topographie des émotions dans le Commentaire et les Questions sur le De animalibus d’Albert le Grand

Isabelle Draelants 1, 2, 3
3 Atelier Vincent de Beauvais
IRHT - Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes, LHSP - Laboratoire d'Histoire des Sciences et de Philosophie - Archives Henri Poincaré, Centre de Médiévistique Jean-Schneider
Abstract : Albert the Great took a significant place in the liveliness of the medieval intellectual debate on the role of the organs and faculties of the soul in the 13th century. His Commentary on the Zoology of Aristotle (De animalibus, grouping HA, PA, GA) written between 1255 and 1263 and the Quaestiones devoted during his teaching in Cologne in 1258 to the same zoological works, are examined here. The purpose is, on the one hand, to highlight the function given to the diaphragm as an organ in relation to the other parts of the body and as a "transmission wall" between sensation, appetites and intellect, and on the other hand, to analyse the role Albert the Great confers the diaphragm in the emotions. In the passages relating to this "bodily topography of emotions", the diaphragm takes place in the middle of an anatomical map animated by vegetable, animal and rational souls, in a hierarchical, but also metaphorical, organic community of the human body. The noble organs of the heart and brain, the respective seats of vital heat and soul on the one hand, and the intellect on the other, are located above the diaphragm, which constitutes their fortification against the harmful humours emitted from the servant organs below, avoiding that they affect the upper limbs through breaths or spirits (spiritus), as happens by accident. The heart is the lord and the centre of the animation of this kingdom. Emotion medically takes its place on the liver and bile side, which can send the dark moods of anger upwards, but in the case of laughter, it is also caused by a kind of breach in the diaphragm protection wall when a tickle, or a movement resulting from a change in the heat of the heart (phenomena that are specific only to humans), sets it in motion. Intellectually, emotion also has its place in the anterior part of the brain, which is why it is expressed through the physiognomy. The implications of these notions also link emotions to the virtues of practical morality. From the passages here examined, it emerges that emotions, while not a central concern, are nevertheless an epistemic subject in Albert the Great's natural philosophy as they are today.
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Isabelle Draelants. Pourquoi seul l’homme rit ? La topographie des émotions dans le Commentaire et les Questions sur le De animalibus d’Albert le Grand. Craig Baker; Grégory Clesse; Matthia Cavagna. Entre le cœur et le diaphragme. (D)écrire les émotions dans la littérature narrative et scientifique du Moyen Âge, Louvain-la-Neuve,, 30, Brepols, pp.49-78, 2019, Publications de l’Institut d’Études médiévales, Textes, Études, Congrès, 978-2-39037-001-7. ⟨halshs-01832106⟩

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