Chapter

Aristotelian objections and post-Aristotelian responses to Plato’s elemental theory

Ian Mueller

in Neoplatonism and the Philosophy of Nature

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693719
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739019 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693719.003.0007
Aristotelian objections and post-Aristotelian responses to Plato’s elemental theory

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Aristotle and Plato advanced very different theories of the traditional four elements. Whereas Plato in his Timaeus proposes a geometrical theory of these elements, Aristotle in his On the Heavens (and On Generation and Corruption) offers a qualitative analysis and offers a series of objections to Plato’s theory. These objections provided later Platonists with the opportunity to defend Plato against and possibly harmonize him with Aristotle. This paper explores Simplicius’ responses to Aristotle one by one, paying particular attention to the brand of scientific discourse that he engages in with Proclus, and to how different commitments to harmonization affect their responses to these objections.

Keywords: four elements; harmonization; Timaeus; On the Heavens; Proclus; Simplicius; geometric atomism

Chapter.  9479 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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