Scripta minora 25
Robert Andrews, Bero Magni de Ludosia Questions on the Soul: A Medieval Swedish Philosopher on Life (2016). SEK 150:-. ISBN 978-91-88568-66-3.
Who was the first Swedish philosopher? A candidate is Bero Magni de Ludosia (Björn Magnusson of Lödöse) – called by Olaus Magnus “the wise Bero” (prudentissima Bero) – who taught philosophy for forty years at the University of Vienna. His commentary on Aristotle’s De anima, written about 1435 and surviving in a single Heiligenkreuz manuscript, is one of the longest from the Middle Ages. In it he utilizes advanced techniques of logic and linguistic analysis to explain the life force of plants, the instincts and sensations of animals, the facts of reproduction, and the unique human capacity for understanding and immortality – while also clarifying superstitions, such as that the beaver’s tail is a fish. This monograph identifies early formulations of Buridan’s Ass, Ockham’s Razor, and the Liar’s Paradox as a concept, “What I am thinking is false”. It situates Bero Magni’s thought firmly in the Buridanian tradition, and suggests there may be a new answer to the question: Who was the greatest Swedish philosopher?