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This content is taken from the Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona & Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona's online course, Understanding Ramon Llull: ​Philosophy, Arts and Science through the Ars Combinatoria. Join the course to learn more.

The Lullian ‘Art of Finding Truth’: a medieval system of enquiry

We suggest reading a text by one of the great scholars of Llull, Robert Pring-Mill (1924-2005), English philologist and professor at Oxford University. You will find a link to this resource below.

Pring-Mill’s most outstanding work in this regard is The microcosm of Ramon Llull (Der Mikrokosmos Ramon Llulls; Il microcosmo lulliano; Le microcosme lullien). In this article, Pring-Mill focuses on Llull’s logical and demonstrative system. Remember that Llull’s goal was to “find the truth” in the sense of “showing the truth”; thus, it is considered a system of demonstratio. In fact, one of his first works was entitled Ars demonstrativa (1283).

For Llull, if some initial principles (the dignities of God) were accepted, then by logic, the subsequent arguments by means of ‘necessary reasons’ had to be accepted. Thus, we have said that Llull’s method reconciles faith and reason: on theological principles — that believers of other faiths could accept — a whole system is built that seeks to prove the truth of Christian dogmas.

This article will help you to understand the mechanism of the Ars combinatoria: how it is configured, the alphabet as a basic element, the figures, its constant reworking by the author, the desire for conversion…

Pring-Mill, R., 1990. The Lullian ‘Art of Finding Truth’: A Medieval System of Enquiry. Catalan Review, [online] Homage to Ramon Llull, 4 (1-2), pp. 55-74. Available through: El Racó website [Accessed 13 October 2016].

  • To know more in depth: Rubio, J. E., 2014. Ut sub brevibus multa possit capere: la notación alfabética en el Ars de Ramon Llull. Historia Religionum, 6, pp. 97-110.

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Understanding Ramon Llull: ​Philosophy, Arts and Science through the Ars Combinatoria

Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona

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