Michael J. Griffin University of British Columbia

  • Faculty, University of British Columbia
  • DPhil, Oxford University, 2009.

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About me
I study the philosophers of the ancient Graeco-Roman world, especially the vibrant intellectual, scientific, and literary legacy that grew up around the work of Plato and Aristotle following their own lives and during the rise of the Roman Empire. My special focus has been the legacy of ancient logic and dialectical practice, leading to my doctoral work reconstructing the earliest commentaries on Aristotle's Categories – a seminal work whose influence has seeped into everyday speech. I am currently interested in the development of 'metaphysics' and formal ontology in the first surviving commentaries on Plato and Aristotle, culminating in the philosophy of Plotinus (c. 204/5-270 CE) and the later Neoplatonists.
My works
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  1. Michael Griffin (2013). Sharples R.W. Peripatetic Philosophy 200 BC to AD 200: An Introduction and Collection of Sources in Translation (Cambridge Source-Books in Post-Hellenistic Philosophy). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pp. Xix + 309. £22.99. 9780521711852. [REVIEW] Journal of Hellenic Studies 133:303-304.
  2. Michael Griffin (2013). Which 'Athenodorus' Commented on Aristotle's Categories? Classical Quarterly 63 (1):199-208.
    The principate of Augustus coincided with a surge of interest in the short Aristotelian treatise which we now entitle Categories, contributing to its later installation at the outset of the philosophical curriculum and its traditional function as an introduction to logic. Thanks in part to remarks made by Plutarch and Porphyry , the origin of this interest has often been traced to Andronicus of Rhodes: his catalogue and publication of the Aristotelian corpus began with the Categories and may have drawn (...)
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  3. Michael Griffin (2012). Proclus on Place as the Luminous Vehicle of the Soul. Dionysius 30:161-186.
    Proclus argues that place (topos) is a body of light, identified as the luminous vehicle of the soul, which mediates between soul and body and facilitates motion. Simplicius (in Phys. 611,10–13) suggests that this theory is original to Proclus, and unique in describing light as a body. This paper focuses on the function of this theory as a bridge between Proclus’ physics and metaphysics, allowing the Aristotelian physical notion of “natural place” to serve as a mechanism for the descent and (...)
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  4. Michael J. Griffin (2012). What Does Aristotle Categorize? Semantics and the Early Peripatetic Reading of the Categories. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 55 (1):65-108.
    This paper explores the role of early imperial Peripatetics – in particular, Andronicus of Rhodes, Boethus of Sidon, Herminus, and Alexander – in the development of the canonical reading of the Categories influentially maintained by Porphyry. I investigate the common threads of Middle Platonist and Peripatetic views on the value of the Categories, focusing on the utility of the method of division (diairesis) for acquiring knowledge (epistêmê), and argue for a shared Peripatetic-Platonist consensus about the reasons why the Categories should (...)
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  5. Michael J. Griffin (2010). (M.) Tuominen The Ancient Commentators on Plato and Aristotle (Ancient Philosophies 6). Stocksfield: Acumen Publishing, 2009. Pp. Xii + 324. £50. 9781844651627 (Hbk). £16.99. 9781844651634 (Pbk). [REVIEW] Journal of Hellenic Studies 130:283-284.
  6. Michael Griffin (2004). Apollo's Hawk at Artistophanes, Birds 516. Classical Quarterly 54 (02):610-613.
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  7. M. Griffin (2002). Review: Seneca: Leben und Werk. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 52 (1):66-68.
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