Speculating about Diogenes of Apollonia

André Laks

in The Oxford Handbook of Presocratic Philosophy

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780195146875
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199892112 | DOI:


Speculating about Diogenes of Apollonia

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This article takes up Diogenes again, investigating some of the reasons Diogenes has been unappreciated, and making a case for Diogenes' mind-based teleology as a significant philosophical contribution. The sophists, too, have suffered from the charge, which goes back to Plato, of not being “real” philosophers. Diogenes did not bother himself with, or was not interested in, showing in what sense the world is organized in the best possible manner; this looked to him as something that happened as a matter of course. What did interest him, on the other hand, was to show what the thing that exercised intelligence is. From this point of view, the emphasis is definitely not on teleology, but rather on noetics. Here, primary textual evidence is available, for the fragments, as well as Simplicius's presentation of them, definitely support the view that the point of Diogenes' argumentation was to show that intelligence is air's.

Keywords: Diogenes; mind-based teleology; teleology; noetics; Simplicius's presentation

Article.  6044 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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