Five Views of definienda in Alexander’s Quaestiones 1.3 and 2.14

Elenchos: Rivista di Studi Sul Pensiero Antico 42 (2):351-374 (2021)
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Abstract

In Quaestiones 1.3 and 2.14, Alexander presents a distinctly realist or essentialist view of the objects of definition, distinguished, on the one hand, from two types of realism rejected by Aristotle, and, on the other, from two types of conceptualism that probably belong within the Peripatetic tradition. The difference between Alexander’s view and essentialist abstractivism lies in his understanding of definienda not as the common concepts of things existing in the particulars, but as the common things conceived of as existing in the particulars. This paper offers a close reading of Quaest. 1.3, whose aim is to flesh out Alexander’s position vis-à-vis the objects of definition against the backdrop of the four rejected alternatives. The distinction between Alexander’s essentialism and the essentialist abstractivist notion of definienda is further explained in light of Quaest. 2.14. The amended Greek text of Quaest. 1.3 is appended with an English translation.

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