Boethius against universals: The arguments in the second commentary on Porphyry


Apart from his Consolation of Philosophy, perhaps the most well known text of Boethius is his discussion of universals in the Second Commentary on Porphyry’s Isagoge.1 In that passage, he first reviews the arguments for and against the existence of universal entities, and then offers a theory he attributes to Alexander of Aphrodisias, a kind of theory called in recent times “moderate realism,” according to which there are no universal entities in the ontology of the world, but nevertheless there is an objective, non-arbitrary basis for the formation of our universal or general concepts about that world. At the very end of the passage, Boethius adds the intriguing comment that he has presented this view not necessarily because it is his own, but because it is the one that fits Aristotle’s..



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Paul Vincent Spade
Indiana University, Bloomington

Citations of this work

Aquinas on the Problem of Universals.Jeffrey E. Brower - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):715-735.
Platonism about Goodness—Anselm’s Proof in the Monologion.Jeffrey E. Brower - 2019 - TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology 3 (2):1-28.
Aquinas on the Problem of Universals.Jeffrey E. Brower - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (3):715-735.

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