At the beginning of his Isagoge, Porphyry establishes a famous set of questions concerning genera and species, which is the origin of the medieval “Quarrel of universals”. But this text gave rise to difficulty for interpreters: does Porphyry, when elaborating this set of questions, refer to historical positions or does he offer these alternatives in a lingua franca, which would be neutral from a doctrinal point of view? This article focusing on the first of the three alternatives raised by Porphyry aims to show that replacing Porphyry's text in its historical and philosophical background can shed light on the meaning of this alternative. During the Post-Hellenistic period (100 B.C.–200 A.D.), the different schools discussed the ontological status of universals. Therefore, not only does Porphyry use the terminology shaped by former philosophers, but he also alludes to the debate between Stoics, Middle Platonists and Peripatetics. Alexander of Aphrodisias constitutes a precious help to reconstruct this dispute, which this article tries to depict.
Keywords Aristotelianism  concept  universal  Porphyry  middle-platonism  stoicism  Post-Hellenistic
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DOI 10.4000/methodos.3093
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