We reply to the objections raised in Polis 40 (2023) by Ryan Balot and Manuel Knoll to our original paper ‘Recognition and Redistribution in Aristotle’s Account of Stasis’, published in Polis 39 (2022). We argue that Knoll is correct in arguing that Aristotle distinguishes between democratic views of distributive justice and his own, but wrong to argue that this wholly resolves a tension in Aristotle’s exposition between views of democratic justice as, in one sense, based on equality ‘according to worth’ (...) and in another based on arithmetic equality. Balot, we contend, misconstrues our original argument when he represents us as claiming that, according to Aristotle, the injustice which leads agents to engage in stasis exists entirely in their own minds. We did not and do not hold that view and therefore (pace Balot) are in no way committed to any of its alleged implications. Balot’s misunderstanding on that point entails a wholesale misrepresentation of our original argument. (shrink)
This paper argues that Aristotle’s account of friendship can be applied equally to cases of friendship in association and personal friendship. It argues that both types of friendship are similar insofar as both are primarily concerned with the common good that serves as the basis of the friendship. This notion of the common good is what allows Aristotle to draw a connection between personal relationships, the more circumscribed associations, and the political association. This focus on the common good allows one (...) to look to the political association to inform one’s understanding of both friendship and justice in both the smaller associations and in personal relationships. (shrink)
A number of recent articles1 have revived scholarly interest in the ancient biographies of Aristotle and catalogues of his writings, a subject that has otherwise been almost entirely stagnating since the mid 1980’s. A key source for investigating this field is On Aristotle’s Life, Testament and Writings by a certain Ptolemy, a work lost in its original Greek version (Vita Ptolemaei Graeca, henceforth VPG) but extant in an Arabic translation (Vita Ptolemaei Arabice versa, VPA). A manuscript of VPA has been (...) long known to scholarship but no complete critical edition of the work is available at present. A comprehensive philological treatment of VPA and a reconstruction of its Greek source text has been recently described as “arguably the most urgent desideratum of research into the early transmission of Aristotle[’]s philosophy” (Falcon 2017). The present thesis aims to fill this gap by introducing a new MS of VPA and presenting a translation and study of the work based on my forthcoming critical edition. Despite focussing on an Arabic source, this thesis can be described as a piece of Classical scholarship in that it addresses two pressing issues pertaining to this field of studies: (i) the extent to which VPG can be reconstructed from its surviving translation, and (ii) the identity and philosophical orientation of the author of the Greek version. The former problem is tackled by means of a detailed philological investigation of VPA and the surviving Greek and Latin testimonies; it appears that VPA mostly reflect the content of its lost source text in an accurate way, although several passages were abridged or left out and others interpolated. The discussion of the latter problem involves a comparison of the reconstructed VPG with other Greek philosophical texts, which indicates that the work must be placed in the early 1st-mid 2nd c. AD. The most probable identification of VPG’s author emerging from our analysis is that with the astronomer and eclectic philosopher Claudius Ptolemy. Noteworthy by-products of the present thesis are the discovery of what is possibly a new fragment of Hermippus of Smyrna’s (fl. second half of the 3rd c. BC) Life of Aristotle and the recovery of a hitherto unnoticed Neoplatonic biography of Aristotle surviving in Arabic only. Also, it was possible to identify an Überlieferungsgemeinschaft in Greek manuscripts of Aristotle where the order of the biological works may be influenced by VPG’s pinax of his writings. A number of issues pertaining to VPG and VPA could not be addressed within the context of this thesis. The question of VPG’s sources is only summarily dealt with, and the text shows some more potential for retrieving information on lost Hellenistic works. Also, no investigation of VPG’s place in the Greek tradition of literary biographies has been undertaken. This is due to the fact that the relevant sections of VPA have emerged as the least faithful ones to its Greek original; too many variants would have to be carefully assessed before proceeding to plausible conclusions. Furthermore, it should be stressed now that, when dealing with information on Aristotle’s life preserved in VPG-VPA, we are never concerned with the historicity of the reports, as we rather focus on how they can be used to gain insight into Ptolemy and his work. The method adopted in this thesis is a purely philological one, inspired by the works of German Graeco-Arabists of the late 19th c. Graeco-Arabic sources are notorious for their complicated textual history, and VPG-VPA is no exception to this rule; therefore, philological rigour represents the only way to deal with a variety of issues inherent in the primary sources investigated. Most 20th c. scholarly contributions on VPG-VPA refrained from engaging with the pioneering reconstructions of Quellenforscher and in some cases even dismissed them a priori, thus producing a season of unoriginal studies on VPG-VPA. But hindsight makes it possible to spot the pitfalls the Germans could not see, and their partially valid results should be carefully examined, corrected whenever necessary and built upon with philological diligence. This thesis follows a linear development and chapters tend to build on each other. The natural first step is introducing the primary Arabic (ch. 2) and Greek sources (ch. 3), which makes it possible to understand the apparatus to the translation of VPA based on our forthcoming critical edition (ch. 4). Subsequently, the most important scholarly contributions on VPG and VPA shall be scrutinised (ch. 5). The first part of our study of the text consists in an analysis of the relation between the transmitted Arabic text and the lost Greek source, which allows to determine to what degree VPA can replace VPG in an investigation of the latter’s origin and features (ch. 6). Building on this, the question of VPG’s sources is addressed, albeit summarily (ch. 7). The last section contextualises VPG against the background of the bibliographical tradition of the Imperial Era and attempts an identification of the work’s author based its philosophical content (ch. 8). (shrink)
In Metaphysics M, Aristotle aims to refute the Platonic view that mathematical objects are substantially prior to sensible things. For Aristotle, mathematical objects are the abstracted attributes of sensible substances required for geometrical analysis and proof. Yet, despite this derivative status of the objects of mathematics, Aristotle insists that they are logically prior to individual substances. This paper examines the distinction between logical and substantial priority, arguing that it underwrites Aristotle’s conception of mathematical necessity and explanation.
Posing qualia as the mark of the mental presents problems for both reductionist and non-reductionist views of the mind. An alternative platform to understand the ontology of mental states is presented using Polo's retrieval of Aristotle's notion of energeia. I propose that mental states are characterized in terms of temporal integration, a feature of mental states that happen in time but do not require duration in time. Other features like simultaneity, commensurability, and non-failure are derived from this 'zero-time' that characterizes (...) mental states. Some consequences that the 'zero-time' approach entails for a theory of the mind, especially for our understanding of the relationships between consciousness and intentionality and the structure of the mind, are presented. (shrink)
Even if political theorists rarely read him, Italian political thinker, Marsilius of Padua, presents one of the most radical theories of the multitude prior to Machiavelli and Spinoza. This article reconstructs Marsilius of Padua's political theory of the multitude in his Defender of Peace and pays special attention to two main sources from which Marsilius frames his theory: Aristotle and Ibn Rushd. Compared to Aristotle, Marsilius advances a more epistemic view of the multitude as a lawmaker. Marsilius’ ideas on the (...) multitude also depend on Ibn Rushd's theory of collective knowledge and, to a certain extent, on his position on natural law. (shrink)
In Aristotle’s world there is no God to answer our prayers (euchê) and yet prayers follow the excellent city of the Politics like a shadow. Nonetheless, as far as I know, people have been content to narrow the focus of investigation to Aristotle’s utopia, its plausibility, structure and infrastructure, leaving prayers out of the picture. The most prayers themselves seem to deserve is a footnote or so. The result is that attention is switched away from the most basic questions: What (...) is the function of practical reason that prayers are meant to perform and why could not, or should not, that function be carried out by deliberate choices, wishes, and action plans? Prayers matter, and matter a lot, so I will argue, for they mirror our understanding of constitutive moral luck. The legislators and the rulers who ignore or overlook this truth are theoretically incompetent and politically perilous. (shrink)
Philoponus has been identified as the founder in dynamics of the theory of impetus, an inner force impressed from without, which, in its later recurrence, has been hailed as a scientific revolution. His commentary is translated here without the previously translated excursus, the Corollary on Void, also available in this series. Philoponus rejects Aristotle's attack on the very idea of void and of the possibility of motion in it, even though he thinks that void never occurs in fact. Philoponus' argument (...) was later to be praised by Galileo. This volume contains the first English translation of Philoponus' commentary, as well as a detailed introduction, extensive explanatory notes and a bibliography. (shrink)
Aristotle recognises preternatural affections in numerous passages from his ethical writings, where he claims that some desires and emotions are beyond human nature, too strong for our nature to withstand, and that an action motivated by them is συγγνωμονικὸν: something excusable. However, there has been some reluctance among scholars to explicitly acknowledge that Aristotle recognised preternatural affections as a category of excuse in its own right. The aim of this paper is to remove the obstacles that stand in the way (...) of such a recognition, and to show that Aristotle developed a normative account of preternatural affections, based on the natural human capacity to withstand, allowing him to class them as genuine cases of βία, compulsion. (shrink)
Contextualizing his views of government and the political community within the Ancient World, this history of political philosophy explores the revolutionary ideas from Plato's greatest pupil that built the foundation for a democratic tradition that is still alive today.
This chapter discusses Javelli’s concept of Christian philosophy (philosophia Christiana), a project that has been completely neglected by modern scholarship. In fact, Javelli should be credited as one of the few Renaissance thinkers who attempted to build a systematic and consistent project of Christian philosophy, encompassing all three traditional branches of practical philosophy: ethics, economics and politics. He develops this conception in three interrelated treatises entitled, respectively, Philosophia moralis Christiana, Oeconomica Christiana, and Philosophia civilis sive politica Christiana, all published together (...) for the first time in Venice in 1540. In this chapter, I will focus in particular on the first, preliminary step of Javelli’s project, that is, the ‘dismantling’ of classical ethics, embodied first and foremost by Plato and Aristotle. By intermingling references to the Scriptures with discussions of the works by these two thinkers, Javelli offers a point-by-point refutation of the main tenets of classical ethics, concluding that both Platonism and Aristotelianism are equally useless for the development of a genuinely Christian philosophy. In his philosophically grounded confutation of classical ethics, not only does Javelli echo arguments and motives already presented by Erasmus in his writings, but he also makes use of well-known allegations derived from fifteenth- and sixteenth-century comparationes of the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. (shrink)
In this chapter, I will examine the place of the commentaries on Aristotle’s De sensu et sensato in Chrysostomus Javelli’s comprehensive exegetical treatment of the Aristotelian encyclopaedia. Javelli addressed Aristotle’s De sensu two times: at first, in his epitome published in 1531 in Venice; then, in his set of twenty-one quaestiones, the editio princeps of which was published posthumously in 1577 in Venice. Although it is not possible to establish the date of composition of these works, in the first part (...) I will focus on some paratextual and intertextual elements to bring out the close connection between the epitomes and the Quaestiones. Javelli was a versatile writer, capable of using very different sources and harmonising them in order to make the Aristotelian text understandable to his students: in fact, a concern for teaching underpins all his exegetical works. These features will emerge vividly in the second part of this chapter, where I will take a closer look at one of the quaestiones, which concerns the intromission and extramission of visual species. (shrink)
This chapter discusses Javelli’s frequently reprinted Compendium logicae (1540). The purpose of the work, as Javelli himself states at the beginning, is to introduce neophytes and novices to the study of logic. I focus in particular on the section devoted to demonstrative syllogism. Besides being traditionally overlooked by scholars, this doctrine was usually omitted in the scholastic tradition of the summulae logicales, on the grounds that it was too complex to be summarised and explained appropriately. By providing a thorough account (...) of Aristotle’s doctrine of demonstrative syllogism, Javelli departs significantly from the previous interpretive tradition, and he does not always succeed in presenting the theory in a succinct and palatable way. After a brief introduction, I set Javelli’s Compendium against the background of the Dominicans’ exegetical tradition on Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics in the fifteenth century. I especially discuss the works of Dominicus of Flanders, Franciscus Thomae, and Girolamo Savonarola, before delving deeply into Javelli’s Compendium logicae. The chapter concludes with a comparison of this work to the commentary of Javelli’s confrère Francesco Silvestri, which offers an outstanding example of erudition and philological rigour. A final appendix provides a transcription of sections from the logical works of Dominicus of Flanders, Tommaso de Vio, Javelli and Francesco Silvestri. (shrink)
L'idee d'une multiplicite de causes, introduite dans la philosophie grecque a partir des dialogues de Platon, a trouve chez Aristote sa realisation grandiose et complexe.La discussion sur les causes a l'epoque hellenistique et imperiale confirme l'importance et l'extreme richesse de cette idee. Le titre du volume veut souligner les rapports dialectiques, parfois conflictuels et souvent polemiques, que les doctrines de la causalite de cette epoque presentent entre elles, aussi bien de maniere independante que et par rapport a la systematisation aristotelicienne. (...) Les principaux auteurs (Theophraste, Alexandre d'Aphrodise, Plotin) et les principales ecoles philosophiques (Peripatetique, Stoicienne, Epicurienne, Sceptique) de l'age hellenistique et imperial y ont ete abordes dans le but de produire un apercu le plus complet et le plus articule possible du probleme de la causalite a cette epoque. (shrink)
Aristotle (384–322 BC) was born in Stagira, Macedonia. He went to Athens and entered Plato's Academy when he was eighteen. He remained there until Plato's death in about 347 BC, when he left Athens to spend the next five years at Assos in Asia Minor and at Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, working on philosophy and biology. In 343 he was invited to return to Macedonia to tutor the son of Philip II of Macedonia, the future Alexander the Great. (...) This lasted three or four years. After a further period at Stagira, Aristotle returned to Athens where he opened a philosophical school at the Lyceum or Peripatos. On the death of Alexander in 323 there was anti-Macedonian feeling in Athens, and to avoid the same fate as Socrates, Aristotle took refuge in Chalcis on the island of Euboea, leaving the school in the charge of his pupil Theophrastus. He died the following year. (shrink)
Radulphus Brito's Quaestiones super Priora analytica Aristotelis is a major work written in the early 1300s which treated Aristotle's text devoted to the theory of the syllogism. Brito, one of the most influential of the group of medieval thinkers known as the Modistae, examines both categorical and hypothetical syllogisms. In the text offered here, based on six known manuscripts which are complete or nearly complete, Brito was critical of many of the theories of his contemporary, Simon of Faversham. Brito edited (...) his work several times; there are at least two versions which indicate Brito returned to this material during his long career at the university in Paris. This volume is the first critical text edition of Brito's Quaestiones super Priora analytica Aristotelis and will therefore be of great interest to those studying the history of logic and its development during the medieval period. (shrink)
Aristotle notoriously begins his examination of being in the sense of dunamis and energeia in Metaphysics Theta with what he describes as the sense that is ‘most dominant’ but not useful for his present aim. He proceeds to define the not-useful sense of dunamis as “the principle of change in something else or in itself qua other”, along with other senses derived from this primary sense. But what then is the useful sense? All that Aristotle tells us at the outset (...) is that it is a sense that extends “beyond things spoken of only in relation to motion” and nowhere in Book Theta does he explicitly identify the useful sense as such. This has allowed for very different interpretations of the useful sense in the literature, the primary ones being that it is (1) ‘possibility’, (2) the potential to receive a form, (3) being-potentially-x understood modally as encompassing all specific senses of dunamis, and (4) capacity for substantial change. The present paper argues that there are significant problems with all of these suggestions and defends an identification of the useful sense of dunamis with the sense that Aristotle explicitly opposes to the not-useful sense at the start of Theta 8: phusis (‘nature’). This goes hand-in-hand with an identification of the useful sense of energeia with ‘activity’ as distinguished from motion/change at the end of Theta 6. What makes these senses of dunamis and energeia the useful ones for Aristotle’s present aim is that they are required to explain fully the priority of energeia to dunamis in substance defended in Theta 8, they support the identification in Theta 9 of energeia with the good, and they explain the unity of the only substances that Aristotle recognizes as being genuinely substances: natural living substances. (shrink)
This work is an attempt to decipher the therapeutic essence of the Hellenic theater through the prism of "catharsis", starting with the Athenian orgy, when theatrical performances turned into a tool for collective healing. The article deals with the theoretical views of Aristotle, in whose aesthetics catharsis has become the main concept that testifies to the healing abilities of the Greek theater to purify and harmonize the personality. The author shows how these ideas can be used in modern theatrical art, (...) helping to identify and eliminate the mental problems of today's audience. Dramatic "catharsis", named and analyzed in the theoretical system of Aristotle, in turn, became a theoretical generalization of the healing abilities of the Greek theater. The scientific novelty of this work lies in the fact that the study of the essence and form of healing in the Greek theater can be used as a theoretical basis for the development of modern drama therapy. The work uses an interdisciplinary approach, a cultural-historical method and the principle of comparative analysis in the 70-80s. In the twentieth century, drama therapy began to be explored as a separate discipline that awakened creativity and imagination, contributed to the reunification of people with their inner world, removed the burden of difficult experiences, changed behavior and life circumstances, thus revealing the healing abilities of theatrical "catharsis". The rise of modern theater therapy reflects a new direction in the development of psychotherapy and theater, as well as a return to the ancient traditions of healing and artistic creativity and the development of fresh ideas and new creative ideas based on them. (shrink)
I have argued elsewhere that the idea that Aristotle aspired to improve the theories of the planetary motions of Eudoxus and Callippus by adding the ‘counteracting’ spheres (ἀνελίττουσαι) first emerged with the Peripatetic exegete Sosigenes in the second century CE. This paper supplements that argument by contrasting two major lines of interpretation of the astronomical system set out in Metaphysics Λ.8: Adrastus of Aphrodisias’ widely ahistorical account, and Sosigenes’ attempt to save Aristotle against later developments of astronomical science.
One of his six introductions to philosophy, widely used by students in Alexandria, Ammonius' lecture on Porphyry was recorded in writing by his students in the commentary translated here. Along with five other types of introductions (three of which are translated in the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle volume Elias and David: Introductions to Philosophy with Olympiodorus: Introduction to Logic) it made Greek philosophy more accessible to other cultures. These introductions became standard in Ammonius' school and included a popular set of (...) five or more definitions of philosophy, some of them drawn from commentaries on quite different works. Ammonius' lecture expounded the most celebrated and discussed previous introduction written by Porphyry 200 years earlier, which was devoted to five main technical terms of Aristotle's logic. Ammonius was sympathetic to Porphyry because they both sought to harmonise the views of Plato and Aristotle with each other, arguing in different ways that the two philosophers did not disagree about the nature of universals. Porphyry's introduction was a hugely influential work for centuries after its composition, and this commentary by Ammonius served to maintain its position at the centre of later schools of philosophy. This English translation of Ammonius' work is the latest volume in the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle series and makes this philosophical work accessible to a modern readership. The translation is accompanied by an introduction, comprehensive commentary notes, bibliography, glossary of translated terms and a subject index. (shrink)
This is an edition of an extensive Latin commentary on Aristotle's Sophistical Refutations composed about 1205 by an anonymous Parisian master who was a philosophically perceptive close reader of the Aristotelian text. The only extant manuscript of his work is now in Cambridge. The commentary is an important source of information about the development of logic at the time when the masters in Paris were beginning to organize themselves into what was to become the University of Paris.
S'intéresser au concept de 'catégorie' dans la philosophie d'Aristote c'est se pencher sur l'un des objets qui a le plus suscité de commentaires depuis l'Antiquité jusqu'à la modernité récente -- de Porphyre à Derrida en passant par les stoïciens, Alexandre et les philosophes arabes. Loin d'être limitée au traité qui a porté ce titre ("Des catégories"), traité dont l'objet et le sens même font difficulté, la kategoria se situe à la croisée des divers champs de questionnements philosophiques aristotéliciens et des (...) enjeux de la physique, de la logique, de la dialectique et de la science 'première'. L'objet de ce volume est d'éclairer, à partir de quelques-unes des lectures actuelles et des grandes approches interprétatives, les difficultés majeures d'interprétation que le concept de 'catégorie' (kategoria) a posé à la tradition, ainsi que d'en renouveler la compréhension à même les textes." -- Back cover. (shrink)
Ce recit de la vie d'Aristote montre assez bien que, même s'il est connu comme un des plus grands philosophes de tous les temps, il etait un veritable homme de science, au sens moderne du mot, un penseur, chercheur et professeur. Sous forme d'autobiographie, le present recit nous rappelle du même souffle, grâce à des reperes historiques bien definis, tout ce que nous devons à la culture grecque : l'academie, l'ethique, les sculptures d'Aphrodite, le theâtre, les sciences, sans oublier les (...) bases servant à l'etude de nos systemes politiques. Vingt-quatre siecles avant nous, Aristote s'etonnait dejà de tout. Ami du conquerant Philippe de Macedoine, il a ete un professeur d'Alexandre dit Le Grand et il connaissait de pres Demosthene, que l'on donne lui aussi, avec le Romain Ciceron, comme l'un des deux plus grands orateurs de l'Antiquite. Cette biographie s'en tient strictement à des faits verifiables anterieurs à l'annee 322 avant notre ere, date de la mort d'Aristote. L'auteur, qui utilise un vocabulaire aussi pres que possible de sa source, ne pose aucun jugement sur sa personnalite ou sur ses oeuvres. Mais le portrait qui se degage de cette vie fera consensus : Aristote etait heureux. (shrink)
Aristotle's Topics is a handbook for dialectic, which can be understood as a philosophical debate between a questioner and a respondent. In book 2, Aristotle mainly develops strategies for making deductions about 'accidents', which are properties that might or might not belong to a subject (for instance, Socrates has five fingers, but might have had six), and about properties that simply belong to a subject without further specification. In the present commentary, here translated into English for the first time, Alexander (...) develops a careful study of Aristotle's text. He preserves objections and replies from other philosophers whose work is now lost, such as the Stoics. He also offers an invaluable picture of the tradition of Aristotelian logic down to his time, including innovative attempts to unify Aristotle's guidance for dialectic with his general theory of deductive argument (the syllogism), found in the Analytics. The work will be of interest not only for its perspective on ancient logic, rhetoric, and debate, but also for its continuing influence on argument in the Middle Ages and later. (shrink)
Voici, pour la premiere fois edite et traduit, un texte grec antique perdu dans la langue originale et conserve en arabe. Il s'agit d'une lettre redigee par un mysterieux Ptolemee, philologue aristotelicien actif a Alexandrie autour de l'an 200 apres J.-C., dans laquelle celui-ci rapporte la Biographie et le Testament d'Aristote, ainsi qu'un Catalogue d'une centaine de titres inconnu par ailleurs. Ce vestige est l'une de nos meilleures sources d'information - et la seule qui soit interne a l'ecole peripateticienne - (...) sur la vie d'Aristote. Elle permet de reconstituer les liens entre Aristote et le pouvoir macedonien - Philippe, Alexandre le Grand et le general Antipatros - ainsi que l'emancipation progressive d'Aristote a l'egard de Platon. C'est aussi notre seul temoignage sur la premiere edition, dans l'Antiquite, des ecrits savants du Philosophe. Instantane pris sur le vif de l'etat de la philologie aristotelicienne, a Alexandrie, a la fin du IIe siecle, ce texte est une lecture essentielle pour quiconque s'interesse a la question de savoir ce que nous lisons quand nous lisons Aristote. (shrink)
La référence à la nature, qu'elle soit normative ou descriptive, croise les thèmes essentiels de l'éthique d'Aristote : la fin ultime, l'acquisition des vertus, le plaisir et les émotions, les liens relationnels, la justice et la vie en cité, la responsabilité. L'éthique aristotélicienne n'est pas pour autant "naturaliste" au sens où le bien humain dériverait de tendances et de prédispositions naturelles. Cet ouvrage, en procédant à une étude systématique de la référence à la nature dans l'éthique aristotélicienne, défend une nouvelle (...) interprétation du naturalisme pratique d'Aristote : un naturalisme critique, le plus souvent dialectique, qui s'interroge sur les conditions de base du bien humain ; non pas un naturalisme scientifique, en vertu duquel la biologie serait source de prescriptions morales, mais un naturalisme problématique qui délimite des possibilités d'agir. L'une des tâches primordiales du théoricien de l'éthique, comme celle du politique actif, est précisément d'évaluer dans quelle mesure le bien humain dépend de la nature ou s'en affranchit."--Page 4 of cover. (shrink)