George E. Karamanolis

in Plato and Aristotle in Agreement?

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199264568
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603990 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs


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This chapter contends that Atticus wrote with the aim of castigating the widespread use of Aristotle’s work by Platonists and Peripatetics, who tended to use Aristotle as a guide to Plato’s philosophy on the assumption that Aristotle preserved Plato’s doctrines and/or often also followed them. Atticus argues that Aristotle opposed Plato’s philosophy systematically and that no doctrine of his can be of help in understanding Plato, or for doing philosophy in general. He holds such a view because, like Numenius, he construes Plato’s philosophy as a system based on the metaphysics of the transcendent Forms, which determine all entities including ethical values, and considers immanent Forms derivative from them. Also crucial for the evaluation of Aristotle’s doctrine is his tendency to be inspired by Stoicism and to reconstruct Plato’s doctrines relying on the parts of Plato which inspired the Stoics, as is the case with his view on the divine providence or with his view that the soul is essentially rational and yet a separable substance (against the Stoics). For Atticus, Aristotle’s difference on the Forms, the providence, and the nature of the soul entails a substantially different position in ethics. Since for Atticus ethics is the purpose of all philosophy, Aristotle’s divergence from Plato in this is taken as indicative of the fundamental conflict between Aristotle and Plato.

Keywords: Atticus; Peripatetics; metaphysics; Forms; Stoicism; soul; ethics

Chapter.  20530 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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