In the medieval university, masters would sometimes engage in a special form of disputation, the “quodlibetal question.” (That’s basically fancy medieval speak for “ask me anything.”) According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
quodlibetal questions, (quodlibet = any whatever) differed from ordinary disputations in that they were open to the broader public… The questions were not set by the master but could be posed by any member of the audience and without any prior notice to the master who would determine the question. These questions might reflect contemporary controversies or might be designed to pose a question that brought to the fore a difficulty for the particular master of whom it is asked because of his other stated views.
For a while now I have been mulling over the possibility of running a quodlibetal questions lecture course. (I like the challenge.) Recently co-blogger John Ritzema made the excellent suggestion that the blog should periodically host quodlibetal questions. Eventually, we hope to make this a regular feature in which scholars from outside Oriel, and even outside Oxford, take questions from the blog’s readership. But things have to start somewhere, and they might as well start with me.
So: ask me anything! Well, any reasonably academic question, anyway… You can ask questions in the comments to this post, or on the Oriel Facebook page. After a few days, I will pick about five questions and then respond to them with successive posts on the blog.