I argue for the interpretation of Anaximander's world as an unstable system. The inconsistency found by scholars in Theophrastus/Simplicius' text disappears when it is realized that the elemental forces of nature do not change into each other. They are in the Infinite in time as well as in space. To some extent preference is given to Aristotle's evidence over the doxographical vulgate habitually derived from Theophrastus, though of course the Theophrastean passage containing the verbatim quotation remains the primary witness.
Jaap Mansfeld and Frans de Haas bring together in this volume a distinguished international team of ancient philosophers, presenting a systematic, chapter-by-chapter study of one of the key texts in Aristotle's science and metaphysics: the first book of On Generation and Corruption. In GC I Aristotle provides a general outline of physical processes such as generation and corruption, alteration, and growth, and inquires into their differences. He also discusses physical notions such as contact, action and passion, and mixture. These notions (...) are fundamental to Aristotle's physics and cosmology, and more specifically to his theory of the four elements and their transformations. Moreover, references to GC elsewhere in the Aristotelian corpus show that in GC I Aristotle is doing heavy conceptual groundwork for more refined applications of these notions in, for example, the psychology of perception and thought, and the study of animal generation and corruption. Ultimately, biology is the goal of the series of enquiries in which GC I demands a position of its own immediately after the Physics. The contributors deal with questions of structure and text constitution and provide thought-provoking discussions of each chapter of GC I. New approaches to the issues of how to understand first matter, and how to evaluate Aristotle's notion of mixture are given ample space. Throughout, Aristotle's views of the theories of the Presocratics and Plato are shown to be crucial in understanding his argument. (shrink)
The formula 'the elements of logos' in the Zeno quotation by Epictetus at Arrian, Diss. 4.8.12 need not, pace e.g. von Arnim, pertain to the parts of speech, but more probably means the elements i.e. primary theorems of philosophical theory, or doctrine. Theory moreover should become internalized to the soul and 'lived': philosophy is also the so-called 'art of life'. These theorems are to be distinguished but should reciprocally entail each other. Philosophy according to Zeno is both tripartite and one, (...) and tripartite especially in that its parts (and subparts) cannot be transferred simultaneously: of necessity these have to taught and learned one after the other. (shrink)
In the "Doxographi Graeci" the preferred short heading of Aët. 2.31 (Greek text below, p. 28) is 'On Distances', though ps.Plutarch has a long heading. This chapter is about the distances of the sun and moon from each other and from the earth (lemmas 1 to 3, in both ps.Plutarch and Stobaeus), and of the real or apparent shape of the heaven relative to its distance from the earth (lemmas 4 and 5, Stobaeus only). Parallels from Ioann. Lydus and Theodoret (...) for what is in ps.Plutarch are given by Diels in apparatu. To the best of my knowledge it has not been noticed that a version of ps.Plutarch's text is preserved in a scholium on the "Almagest", which constitutes our earliest evidence for the text. The correctness of Diels' reconstruction is questionable. Though certainty, naturally, is beyond our reach it is quite possible that these two sets of lemmas represent two distinct Aëtian (or proto-Aëtian) chapters. These may have been coalesced by Stobaeus (or Aëtius), while ps.Plutarch abridged the second (or the two final lemmas) away. These considerations necessitate an inquiry into the parallels that are available, including material from an introduction to Aratus. The vexing question of short versus long(er) chapter headings is also relevant in this context. Furthermore, the contrasting views regarding cosmic distances are not only a feature of the Placita literature with a distant origin in Aristotle, but also, apparently, of the commentary literature on Plato's "Timaeus". Arguably in a passage in Plutarch's "De facie" these two traditions intersect. Finally, a case can be made out for Eudemus not Theophrastus as an intermediary source of Presocratic astronomical data in the Placita. (shrink)