Boethius identifies God both with esse ipsum and esse suum. This paper explains Boethius's general semantic use of "esse" and the application of this use to God. It questions the helpfulness of attributing to Boethius "existence" words and argues for a more robust role in Boethius’s thought for Hilary of Poitiers’s and Augustine’s exegeses of Exodus 3:14-15 than has been acknowledged in recent scholarship.
In this paper, we examine a fundamental problem that appears in Greek philosophy: the paradoxes of self-reference of the type of “Third Man” that appears first in Plato’s 'Parmenides', and is further discussed in Aristotle and the Peripatetic commentators and Proclus. We show that the various versions are analysed using different language, reflecting different understandings by Plato and the Platonists, such as Proclus, on the one hand, and the Peripatetics (Aristotle, Alexander, Eudemus), on the other hand. We show that the (...) Peripatetic commentators do not focus on Plato’s solution but primarily on the formulation of the “Third Man” paradox. On the contrary, Proclus seems to be convinced that Plato suggests a sound solution to the paradox by defining the predicate of similarity (homogeneity) that demarcates two types of homogeneous entities – the eide and the participants in them in a way that their confusion would be inadmissible. We claim that Plato’s solution follows a sound line of reasoning that is formalisable in a language of Frege-Russell type; hence there exists a model in which Plato’s reasoning is valid. Furthermore, we notice that Plato’s definition of the second-order predicate of similarity is attained by resorting to first-order entities. In this sense, Plato’s definition is comparable to Eudoxus’ definition of ratio, which is also attained by resorting to first-order objects. Consequently, Plato seems to follow a logical practice established by the mathematicians of the 5th century, notably Eudoxus, in his solution to the paradox. (shrink)
In Nemesius' treatment of providence we find an original and suggestive step in the historical development of this teaching. His treatise 'On the Nature of Man' calls for a special attention that focuses on it not only as a testimony of the reception of ancient thought, but also as a personal contribution. In particular, in addition to his criticisms of the doctrine of fate and the conception of general providence advocated by some pagan authors, we find the introduction of divine (...) freedom as a predominant factor in the presentation of providence. Divine power and its freedom (even with respect to necessary entities) establish a new and specifically Christian approach to the problem. The divine will gains in prominence and, as a consequence, the metaphysical scope of God's power, which is above the creatural concepts of contingency and necessity, is emphasised. Thus, Nemesius anticipates the more complex expositions that would later be given by the medieval scholastics, who, like him, would make an ever wider use of Aristotelian philosophy without limiting themselves to taking Platonism and the other Hellenistic schools into account. (shrink)
Bios Philosophos. Philosophy in Ancient Greek Biography (Brepols, 2016), organized by Mauro Bonazzi and Stefan Schorn, delivers deep and wide tours through the philosophical aspects of Greek biographical production. On the one hand, it does not concentrate only on the later periods of Greek philosophy, when biographical production abounded; instead, it goes all the way back to the fourth century BCE, when biographical texts were fragmentary and mingled with other styles. On the other, it tries to unveil the philosophical motives (...) in authors' works who tend to be disregarded as historians, biographers, hagiographers, or even as mere fans of the most prominent figures of their own schools. -/- In our review, we will attempt to give a brief account of the ten articles that make up this volume, which, in turn, will hopefully provide an overview of the different connections between the biographies and biographers and their philosophical motives. (shrink)
It is widely believed that the ancient Greeks thought that Thales was the first philosopher, and that they therefore maintained that philosophy had a Greek origin. This paper challenges these assumptions, arguing that most ancient Greek thinkers who expressed views about the history and development of philosophy rejected both positions. I argue that not even Aristotle presented Thales as the first philosopher, and that doing so would have undermined his philosophical commitments and interests. Beyond Aristotle, the view that Thales was (...) the first philosopher is attested almost nowhere in antiquity. In the classical, Hellenistic, and post-Hellenistic periods, we witness a marked tendency to locate the beginning of philosophy in a time going back further than Thales. Remarkably, ancient Greek thinkers most often traced the origins of philosophy to earlier non-Greek peoples. Contrary to the received view, then, I argue that (1) vanishingly few Greek writers pronounced Thales the first philosopher; and (2) most Greek thinkers did not even advocate a Greek origin of philosophy. Finally, I show that the view that philosophy originated with Thales (along with its misleading attribution to the Greeks in general) has roots in problematic, and in some cases manifestly racist, eighteenth-century historiography of philosophy. (shrink)
This study is the first comprehensive analysis of the physical theory of the Islamic philosopher Avicenna (d. 1037). It seeks to understand his contribution against the developments within the preceding Greek and Arabic intellectual milieus, and to appreciate his philosophy as such by emphasising his independence as a critical and systematic thinker. Exploring Avicenna’s method of "teaching and learning," it investigates the implications of his account of the natural body as a three-dimensionally extended composite of matter and form, and examines (...) his views on nature as a principle of motion and his analysis of its relation to soul. Moreover, it demonstrates how Avicenna defends the Aristotelian conception of place against the strident criticism of his predecessors, among other things, by disproving the existence of void and space. Finally, it sheds new light on Avicenna’s account of the essence and the existence of time. For the first time taking into account the entire range of Avicenna’s major writings, this study fills a gap in our understanding both of the history of natural philosophy in general and of the philosophy of Avicenna in particular. (shrink)
_Sense Perception_ is the first part of the trilogy _Forms of Representation in the Aristotelian Tradition_. It investigates some of the most complex and intriguing aspects of theories of perception in the Greek, Latin, and Arabic reception of Aristotle’s psychology.
_Concept Formation_ is the final part of the trilogy _Forms of Representation in the Aristotelian Tradition_. It investigates some of the most perplexing and provocative discussions on conceptual thinking in the Greek, Latin, and Arabic reception of Aristotle’s psychology.
_Dreaming_ is the second part of the trilogy _Forms of Representation in the Aristotelian Tradition_. It investigates some of the most fascinating and enduring discussions on dreams in the Greek, Latin, and Arabic reception of Aristotle’s psychology.
The position on the question of divine providence of the Aristotelian commentator Alexander of Aphrodisias is of particular interest. It marks an attempt to find a via media between the Epicurean denial of any divine concern for the world, on the one hand, and the Stoic view that divine providence governs it in every detail, on the other.2 As an expression of such a middle course it finds a place in later classifications of views concerning providence.3 It is also of (...) topical interest: Alexander's fullest discussion, in his treatise De providentia, has only recently been edited and translated,4 although some aspects of his position had long been known from other texts preserved in Greek.5. (shrink)
In Themistius’ Paraphrase of Aristotle’s _Metaphysics_ 12, Yoav Meyrav offers a new critical edition and study of the Hebrew text and the Arabic fragments of Themistius’ 4th century paraphrase, whose original Greek is lost.
This work aims to a critical edition of an Aristotle’s Categories commentary, transmitted by M2 codex of St. Ambrose’s Chapter Archive in Milan. Written in Northern Italy, in the 12th century, it was probably a handbook for Chapter School. It is based upon some passages from the auctoritates, as it’s evident from the heading: incipiunt flores glosse categoriarum. It deals whit fundamental logical issues, and it presents a widespread use of the status’s theory, in order to solve some of the (...) logical, physical and metaphysical problems in Aristotle’s Categories. (shrink)
The first case of comprehensive Jesuit philosophical textbook, the Cursus Conimbricensis stands as a hallmark of the Jesuit way of teaching philosophy during the second half of the Sixteenth century. After having placed the Cursus conimbricensis in the European philosophical scenario, this paper aims to show how Manuel de Gois, as well as the other contributors, felt to be bound to Aristotle, the major authority according to the Ratio studiorum, in dealing with questions and issues.
This paper is aimed to indicate two new possible Descartes’ sources. As far as the Cartesian theory of free creation of eternal truths is concerned, this doctrine has often been considered as a reaction to the thought of Francisco Suárez. In this article, we tried to demonstrate that there is the possibility of extending the domain of Cartesian references. In this regard, we have focused on Pedro da Fonseca and the Coimbra Commentaries, trying to point out some additional sources in (...) the Cartesian reflection. (shrink)
During the early modern age, the teaching of philosophy pivots on the systematic manual which replaces the traditional ‘commentarium’ also in the schools run by the religious orders of the Catholic Church. When confronted with the rise and diffusion of the new philosophy and of the new science, the authors of philosophical manuals basically follow three different directions: beside the defenders of the Aristotelian-Scholastic tradition and the enthusiastic innovators, there emerges a third conspicuous orientation, which tries to take a middle (...) course and draws inspiration from the ‘philosophia eclectica’ understood as a path independent of the various philosophical schools. At the same time, the historic-philosophical perspective starts to be introduced into the systematic manual of philosophy, to the extent that it becomes an autonomous treatment with respect to the manual itself. (shrink)
El presente trabajo se concentra en el debate acerca de los alcances de la providencia que tuvo lugar entre las escuelas estoica, platónica y peripatética entre las siglos I y III de nuestra era. En ese contexto, analiza el problema del status ontológico de los singulares en Orígenes de Alejandría y Nemesio de Émesa. Influidos primariamente por la síntesis filoniana entre las distintas teorías griegas de providencia y la de las Escrituras, estos autores fundan la consistencia de los singulares en (...) la tesis de una acción directa del principio divino sobre cada uno de ellos. Frente a una cierta tendencia universalista y necesitarista del pensamiento clásico, los Padres griegos intentaron rescatar el valor metafísico del individuo en cuanto tal. -/- The present paper focuses on the debate over the scope of Providence that took place among the Stoic, Platonic and Peripatetic schools between the first and the third centuries AD. In that context, it deals with the problem of the ontological status of the singulars in the thought of Origen of Alexandria and Nemesius of Emesa. Influenced primarily by the Philonian synthesis of the different Greek theories of Providence with that of the Scriptures, Origen and Nemesius ground the consistency of individual beings on the thesis of a direct divine action intended for each of them. Faced with the universalistic and necessitarian tendencies of classical thought, the Greek Fathers tried to rescue the metaphysical value of individuals as such. (shrink)
Works of philosophy written in English have spawned a massive secondary literature dealing with ideas, problems or arguments. But they have almost never given rise to works of ‘commentary’ in the strict sense, a genre which is however a dominant literary form not only in the Confucian, Vedantic, Islamic, Jewish and Scholastic traditions, but also in relation to more recent German-language philosophy. Yet Anglo-Saxon philosophers have themselves embraced the commentary form when dealing with Greek or Latin philosophers outside their own (...) tradition. The paper seeks to establish the reasons for this peculiar asymmetry by examining those factors which might be conducive to the growth of a commentary literature in a given culture. (shrink)
This is not a book for the ordinary historian of philosophy. It consists almost exclusively of detailed analyses of the manuscript readings at a few scores of places in Metaphysics A–Δ and Λ, confronting the transmitted readings each time with Alexander of Aphrodisias’s comments on the relevant passage. The reason why only those books are studied is simple: Alexander’s commentary on books E–N was lost before the end of the Byzantine era, but Averroes preserved information about the contents of an (...) Arabic translation of the commentary on book Λ. If you are brazen-bowelled enough to stomach so much philological detail, this is a rich book, which teaches the... (shrink)
Despite the central importance of Alexander of Aphrodisias to later Greek, Medieval, and Renaissance philosophy, little attention has been given to his work in modern times. Only one of his writings, the De fato, has been available in English translation. Todd’s study and translation of Alexander’s De mixtione is therefore a welcome contribution. His book not only contributes to the study of Alexander but also presents a critical analysis of the evidence concerning the theory of the "total blending" of bodies (...) attributed to the Stoics by Alexander and by other ancient sources. By investigating the polemical character of such reports concerning Stoicism, Todd attempts to develop a means of evaluating the evidence, the consequence of which is a revision of not a few aspects of what has been thought to be Stoic doctrine. (shrink)