David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (4):pp. 634-636 (2008)
Coleridge wrote: “Every man is born an Aristotelian or a Platonist. I do not think it possible that anyone born an Aristotelian can become a Platonist; and I am sure that no born Platonist can ever change into an Aristotelian. They are two classes of man, beside which it is next to impossible to conceive a third.”Ancient Platonists could not be counted on to accept this kind of dichotomy, and that is what Karamanolis’s book is about. It covers Antiochus , Plutarch of Chaeronea, Numenius, Atticus, Ammonius Saccas, Plotinus, and Porphyry . And it does so with incredible thoroughness, making it a tough read. The book began as a dissertation; it still has something of the air of one.The longest chapter is devoted to Porphyry, whom Karamanolis claims to be the first Platonist to write commentaries on books of Aristotle, and the first to adopt the view that Aristotle simply was in agreement with Plato—the founder of a tradition in scholarship to the effect that “Plato is named as the authority in metaphysics, and Aristotle in logic” . His concluding paragraph is this: It is this understanding of philosophizing which lies behind the formation of the Pla-tonist syllabus I described in the beginning of this book. This remains the situation until the Renaissance. When Renaissance humanists revive
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